The inaugural flight touched down at sunrise on 30 March and was greeted by a traditional water salute witnessed by a crowd of gathered media, while Qatar Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer Dr. Hugh Dunleavy, who travelled on board the inaugural flight with U.K. Ambassador to Qatar, Mr. Ajay Sharma, was greeted at the arrival gate by Birmingham Airport’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Paul Kehoe.
The addition of Birmingham marks the fourth U.K. gateway for Qatar Airways after London Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh, with the eight weekly services operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “We are delighted to commence services to Birmingham, our fourth U.K gateway. This vibrant and economically powerful region represents an important addition to our worldwide network and is a testament to our commitment to the U.K. Passengers now have access to more than 150 global destinations, accessed via 73 flights per week from the U.K., facilitated by smooth transfers through our home and hub, Hamad International Airport.”
Qatar Airways now operates 73 flights per week to the U.K., with 42 flights per week to London Heathrow, 16 to Manchester, seven to Edinburgh and eight to Birmingham, from its state-of-the-art hub, Hamad International Airport.
Hamad International Airport offers 40,000 square metres of combined retail, food and beverage facilities, establishing the airport as a premier shopping and dining destination. With more than 70 retail outlets offering an unprecedented selection of designer labels, high street fashion, electronics and gourmet foods, the airport also features an airside hotel, complete with swimming pool, squash courts and spa.
The British Ambassador to Qatar, His Excellency Mr. Ajay Sharma said “I was delighted to be able to travel on the inaugural flight from Doha to Birmingham. The launch of this new route will open up further opportunities for both Qatar and the U.K. Just like Doha, Birmingham and the surrounding area is host to a number of investment projects and tourist destinations that will appeal to investors and visitors. I am certain that this route will successfully enhance the partnership between our two countries.”
Birmingham Airport Chief Executive Officer, Paul Kehoe said: “We are extremely excited to be welcoming Qatar Airways to Birmingham Airport. Connecting the economically vibrant West Midlands region with the rapidly developing capital city of Doha will be hugely beneficial to passengers at both ends of the route. Additionally, the large selection of onward connections on Qatar’s network gives our long-haul travellers access to more of the most popular destinations around the world from Birmingham.”
A recent survey of 1,000 people from Birmingham and the surrounding region commissioned by Qatar Airways in the United Kingdom showed that 65 per cent of respondents would be more likely to use a local West Midlands airport if it had better long-haul connections.
The results clearly show that travellers in the West Midlands are keen to fly from a local airport if it offers a choice of long-haul destinations to rival those available elsewhere. With eight flights a week, including two flights on Saturdays – the equivalent of over 2,000 seats – Qatar Airways passengers travelling from Birmingham will have access to the world’s most exciting destinations, all within one convenient and seamless transfer at the airline’s state-of-the-art hub, Hamad International Airport.
The Birmingham route is operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in a two-cabin configuration, comprising of 22 seats in Business Class and 232 Economy Class seats. All seats include individual television screens, with Economy Class customers benefitting from a screen 10.6 inches wide, offering the latest inflight entertainment comprised of up to 3,000 options, complimented by the airline’s award-winning service.
Every seat has direct aisle access in Business Class, where passengers can catch up on sleep in a fully-flat bed or make productive use of their time utilising the large work surface area. Passengers can also stay connected while travelling with the option of Wi-Fi which is available throughout the aircraft. Qatar Airways’ home, Hamad International Airport, houses one of the world’s largest and most luxurious Business Class lounges – the Al Mourjan Business Lounge.
Connections between countries such as Pakistan and Australia from Birmingham have never been easier thanks to Qatar Airways. In Pakistan, the airline serves seven destinations including Karachi, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Peshawar and Islamabad. From 2nd March the airline commenced a new service to Sydney, Australia and from 2nd May Adelaide will also complement the existing Perth and Melbourne services.