QATAR Airways plans to return to Cardiff Airport by the end of the year, the Group Chief Executive has said.

In a recent meeting in Doha, Qatar Airways Group chief executive, HE Akbar Al Baker, confirmed to Alun Cairns MP plans for flights to return by the end of 2023.

The Airline is looking to restart its Cardiff to Doha route for the first time since the start of the pandemic in 2020 and following a dispute with Airbus which left them short of aircraft. 

Mr Cairns met His Excellency, Akbar Al Baker to discuss Qatar Airways’ future plans, including their return to Cardiff. 

The global pandemic halted flights around the world three years ago but a return of Qatar Airways to Cardiff would provide a much-needed boost to the airport.

Prior to the pandemic, 25 per cent of passengers who travelled specifically between Qatar and Wales were travelling for business and the return of these passengers will bring a well-timed boost for the economy.

Mr Cairns, who is chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Qatar, travelled to Doha as part of the Qatar Economic Forum in May

There he met with Akbar Al Baker to discuss the significance of the airline returning to the airport based within his constituency, the Vale of Glamorgan, and was delighted with Mr Al Baker’s response.

Penarth Times: Mr Cairns met His Excellency, Akbar Al Baker to discuss Qatar Airways’ future plansMr Cairns met His Excellency, Akbar Al Baker to discuss Qatar Airways’ future plans (Image: Supplied)

It’s been a roller coaster 12 months for Cardiff Airport with budget airline Wizz Air pulling out of the airport, then flights reinstated to Paris with Air France, then the airport was ranked one of the worst in the UK for delays.

Penarth Times: Cardiff Airport has had a challenging few monthsCardiff Airport has had a challenging few months (Image: Newsquest)

Despite all this, Mr Cairns was simply delighted with the latest news on the future of the airport.

“I was delighted to meet with His Excellency, Akbar Al Baker in Doha and discuss how important the airline is for Wales and the Welsh economy,” said Mr Cairns.

“I am grateful to him for his commitment to restarting the flights from Cardiff to Doha. 

“This is a vital connection to the Middle East and beyond. The pandemic clearly had an impact on the airline industry, but I am hopeful that with the return of Qatar Airway’s to Cardiff, this will provide a big boost to the airport that has suffered in recent times.

Mr Cairns went on to say he felt the restarting of flights would open up a lot of opportunities for Wales.

“I believe that the resumption of this service will provide new opportunities in the Gulf,” continued Mr Cairns.

“Flights from Cardiff to Doha helps our entrepreneurs straight into one of the most dynamic economies in the Middle East, and an airport which offers a further 160 global destinations.’