First Qatar Airways flight from Doha lands in Cardiff

image captionThe first Qatar Airways passenger flight from Doha lands at Cardiff Airport on Tuesday lunchtime

The first direct passenger flight between Wales and Qatar has landed at Cardiff Airport.

The inaugural Qatar Airways flight QR323 left Doha early morning and arrived in Wales at about 12:40 BST.

The service will then return to Hamad International Airport, Qatar Airways' hub for flights to Australia and the Far East, at 15:55.

Qatar will run a reduced service until June due to an aircraft delivery delay.

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First Minister Carwyn Jones and Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker were on the first flight to Cardiff.

It was welcomed to Cardiff with a water salute - a tradition often used to mark the first flight of an airline to an airport.

"The new direct service between Cardiff and Doha is a huge boost for Wales," said Mr Jones.

"It will open up Wales' links with the rest of the world. Providing a direct route into the world's fastest growing hub airport, Hamad International, will also bring Wales closer to leading global markets such as India, China, Singapore and Australasia."

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image captionThe Welsh Government bought Cardiff Airport for £52m in 2013

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns, who was also on the first flight from Doha to Cardiff, said: "The new flight from Cardiff to Doha plugs our entrepreneurs straight into one of the most dynamic economies in the Middle East, and an airport which offers a further 150 global destinations."

The Cardiff route, which is expected to take seven hours, was announced in April 2017 and adds to Qatar's UK services to London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

"The service opens up a world of connectivity for our customers in Wales and south west England to destinations across Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Asia and beyond," said Cardiff Airport chief executive Deb Barber.

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