Qatar Airways has announced it will offer direct daily flights to Cardiff from May 1 2018, making it the first Gulf carrier to service Wales and Southwest England.

The new route was first announced earlier this year. Rt Hon Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales, said the service would “open Wales’ links with the rest of the world and deliver new economic, leisure and travel opportunities for Welsh businesses and the people of Wales.”

The Doha to Cardiff route will be served by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with 22 seats in business class and 232 in economy. It is one of 26 new routes announced by Qatar Airways, including flights to Canberra and San Francisco. The airline already serves Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Akbar Al Baker, grouo chief executive at Qatar Airways, commented: We are delighted to announce the launch of our new route to the Welsh capital. Many travellers currently fly to and from London using ground transport between London and Cardiff, and the launch of a direct service will allows passengers to fly directly from Wales and the Southwest to Doha and beyond for the first time. We look forward to offering both business and leisure travellers this convenient connection to Cardiff and points beyond.”

Cardiff Airport chief executive officer Deb Barber said: “I am immensely proud that world-class airline Qatar Airways has recognised the potential that exists within the region and chosen Cardiff Airport to operate a daily service.

“More than 1.4 million passengers per year from the region travel to destinations that are available on the Qatar Airways network – 90 per cent of these passengers are currently travelling from London airports, which emphasises just how much demand exists within the market.”

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