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Qatar Airways Boosts UK Travel With Additional Routes

Qatar Airways Boosts UK Travel With Additional Routes

Qatar Airways restarted flights from Birmingham, UK on July 6, 2023 after a period of three years. The flights will operate on a daily basis, with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft. The service will connect Birmingham Airport with Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, and then onward to 160 destinations. The service was suspended during COVID but has finally resumed.

Dignitaries, including Gary Kershaw, UK & Ireland Country Manager, Qatar Airways; Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor; and Nick Barton, Chief Executive, Birmingham Airport, welcomed flight QR33 from Doha on its arrival at Birmingham. A special menu of British classics was served to passengers onboard the flight including Beef Wellington, traditional British Sunday roast with Yorkshire pudding, Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken Tikka Masala and Eton mess.

To help mark Qatar Airways’ global partnership with Formula 1, former racing driver David Coulthard, was also at the airport to support Qatar Airways’ return to Birmingham. David said, “It’s exciting to see Qatar Airways – Formula 1’s new Global Airline Partner – back at Birmingham, with the West Midlands region boasting a rich automotive history and on the doorstep of Britain’s F1 heartland.

“Nearby F1 team bases include Alpine, Aston Martin, Mercedes, Red Bull and Williams, meanwhile Jaguar Land Rover’s Solihull base is next door to Birmingham Airport.”

While the Boeing 787-8 does not have the airline’s newest Premium Suite, the business class seats are comfortable all aisle access flatbeds in a 1-2-1 configuration. The airline has also upgraded its lounge offering with the inclusion of the Clubrooms at Birmingham, compared to the No. 1 lounge from the same brand that it previously gave passengers access to.

The resumption of flights from Birmingham is part of Qatar Airways’ ongoing global network expansion. The airline has already resumed flights to a number of other destinations, including London Heathrow, Manchester, and Edinburgh. By the end of 2023, Qatar Airways plans to have resumed flights to 10 destinations and added four more routes across two continents.

“We are delighted to be restarting flights from Birmingham,” said Gary Kershaw, UK & Ireland Country Manager for Qatar Airways. “This is an important market for us, and we are committed to providing our customers with the best possible service.”

“Birmingham is one of the most exciting, vibrant and historic cities in the UK and we have long held a special affection for the people of this city and the Midlands region. We are proud to have played a part in bringing them to visit family and friends or conduct business abroad, as well as attend weddings and reunions all over the world.

“As our fifth UK gateway, our return to Birmingham signals Qatar Airways’ strong commitment to the UK and reaffirms the positive relationship between the UK and Qatar.”

Qatar Airways is also said to be planning to restore its Cardiff flights by the end of 2023. In a recent meeting Qatar Airways Group chief executive, HE Akbar Al Baker, confirmed to local MP Alun Cairns that he hopes that flights will return to Cardiff by the end of 2023.

However, beyond Cardiff, the airline is not planning any other new UK destinations. Qatar wants to focus on increasing the frequency of its UK flights and plans to go double daily from Birmingham eventually. The main issue it has, like most airlines post-Covid, is a lack of aircraft. While the issues with Airbus and the potential paint issues on Qatar’s A350s have been resolved, there is still a backlog of new aircraft deliveries. The Boeing 777X is one for which Qatar will be waiting much longer than anticipated. Originally due to debut in 2023, it now looks like the first delivery will not be until at least 2025.

This means that the airline’s Airbus 380s will remain in service until the B777X can replace them. However, at the press conference, country manager Gary Kershaw confirmed there are no plans to retrofit the QSuite or Premium Suite to the aircraft. Both the B787 Dreamliner and A380 have an awkward fuselage width for the QSuites, meaning they did not start retrofitting them immediately. Instead, a new suite was designed for the new B787-9 series called the Premium Suite, which also has a door for privacy like the QSuite.

Hopefully, in the next year or two, the aircraft manufacturing industry will recover and allow Qatar to continue to modernize their fleet and expand as much as demand allows without having to lease aircraft from other airlines.

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