Birmingham Airport has officially become Qatar Airway’s fourth UK gateway, connecting the West Midlands to over 150 destinations worldwide.
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.
Joining the crew on the inaugural flight was the British ambassador to Qatar, his excellency Mr. Ajay Sharma, who praised the new service and the investment opportunities it will bring.
He 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 UK.
“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.”
The eight weekly services from Birmingham mark the fourth UK gateway for Qatar Airways after Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh.
It will also provide a major boost to the regions exporters, making connections between countries such as Pakistan and Australia in particular easier than ever.
Birmingham Airport chief executive officer, Paul Kehoe, added: “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.”
Qatar is the UK’s third largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa region. UK exports of goods rose from £1.31bn in 2013 to £1.53bn in 2014, a 16% increase according to UKTI.