|Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar|
After several years of negotiation, it is now confirmed long-haul flights from Cardiff Airport to the Middle East are to be offered by Qatar Airways.
Cardiff Airport already has flights to Orlando in Florida and now Qatar Airlines will fly to Doha, Qatar's capital, from 2018. Over 1.3 million people used Cardiff airport in the Vale of Glamorgan in 2016 - a 16% growth in passenger numbers.
The new long-haul direct route from Cardiff to Doha underlines that Qatars economy is growing significantly trade between Wales, the Arab world and beyond is also increasing.
Figures just released show that in 2016 exports from Wales to Qatar amounted to £26m.
In 2016, businesses sold goods and services worth £281m to the Middle East and North Africa and worth more than £1bn to Asia and Oceania. Tourism to Doha itself is rising - it grew by 11.5% between 2010 and 2015 and will host the Fifa World Cup in 2022.
Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar is celebrating 20 years serving air travellers, across more than 150 business and leisure destinations.
The world’s fast growing airline will add a number of new destinations to its growing network in 2017/18, including Dublin, Nice, Skopje, Sarajevo and many more, flying passengers on board its modern fleet of 195 aircraft.
An award award-winning airline, Qatar Airways awarded World's Best Business Class; Best Business Class Airline Lounge and Best Airline Staff Service in the Middle East at the 2016 World Airline Skytrax Awards.
Qatar Airways is a member of the oneworld global alliance.
The award-winning alliance was named the World’s Best Airline Alliance 2015 by Skytrax for the third year running.
Qatar Airways was the first Gulf carrier to join global airline alliance, oneworld, thus enabling its new passengers flying directly from Cardiff to benefit from more than 1,000 airports in more than 150 countries, with more than 14,250 daily departures.
Passengers flying on Qatar Airways flights served by its B787, A350, A380, A319 and select A320 and A330 aircraft can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the airline’s on-board Wi-Fi and GSM service.
Qatar Airways sponsors world-leading sports teams including FC Barcelona and Al-Ahli Saudi Arabia FC reflecting the values of sports as a means of bringing people together, something at the core of the airline’s own brand message – Going Places Together. They could well take a keen interest in say Welsh Rugby?
Qatar Airways Cargo, is the world’s third largest cargo carrier, serves more than 50 freighter destinations worldwide via its Doha hub, and also delivers freight to more than 150 key business and leisure destinations globally on 195 aircraft.
The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet now includes eight Airbus 330Fs, 11 Boeing 777 freighters and one Boeing 747 freighter. In future some of these may be visiting Cardiff Airport.
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com