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Qatar Airways celebrates First Anniversary at Cardiff Airport

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Qatar Airways celebrates First Anniversary at Cardiff Airport
Qatar Airways, the multiple-award-winning airline, is celebrating its first anniversary connecting business and leisure customers from Cardiff Airport with destinations around the world.
Over the past year, the airline’s regular service to Doha has been part of the seven per cent jump in overall passenger numbers from Cardiff. Some of the most popular network destinations include Qatar, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka.
In celebration of its first anniversary, the Qatar Airways staff surprised lucky passengers with birthday cupcakes.
From 30th May, Qatar Airways will operate daily flights between Cardiff and Doha for the summer season, allowing passengers to travel to far-flung destinations including Australia and New Zealand in under 24 hours. Cardiff passengers will also benefit from Qatar Airways’ new economy class-onboard ‘Quisine’ branded menu, which will offer customers a greater focus on the use of local, fresh and healthy ingredients and larger portion sizes.

Gary Kershaw, Country Manager (UK & Ireland) at Qatar Airways, said: “We’re proud to be in Wales and are excited at the strong start to our partnership with Cardiff Airport. It’s a hugely exciting time for Qatar Airways. The demand from our UK destinations has never been stronger. That’s why this summer we’re providing our highest ever number of connections between the UK and the rest of the world.
“We want to thank Cardiff Airport and the Welsh Government for their continued support, as we look to offer new and exciting routes and destinations to customers across Wales and the South West.”

Deb Barber, CEO of Cardiff Airport, said: “It’s hard to believe that we have reached this remarkable one year milestone already.
“The introduction of a regular service between Cardiff and Doha has opened up a world of connectivity for customers across Wales and the South West of England. Direct flights to Qatar Airways’ hub in Doha creates onward connections to destinations across Australia, New Zealand, Asia and many more, all without the hassle of having to drive down the M4 to fly from London airports. This service has also re-affirmed Cardiff Airport as a key gateway to the United Kingdom, ideal for visitors, international students, business travellers and ex-pats alike.”

Roger Lewis, Chairman of Cardiff Airport, said: “The inaugural flight in May 2018 was a pivotal moment for Cardiff Airport, for Wales and the South West of England. The far reaching consequences of this service for our customers and businesses have proven to be transformational so far.
"I sincerely thank His Excellency, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, for the trust he and Qatar Airways have placed in us. I am proud of the team at Cardiff Airport who continue to deliver a world-class service with Qatar Airways for all of our passengers both visiting Wales and those travelling across the world.”

Minister for Economy and Transport Ken Skates said: “Since being purchased in 2013, Cardiff Airport has gone from strength to strength and has achieved a 60% increase in passenger numbers. The number of destinations has increased significantly, and the launch of a scheduled daily long-haul Qatar Airways service puts Wales more firmly on the world stage, in terms of attracting both business trade and travellers. Customers continue to demonstrate increasing confidence in the airport and its services.”
 
Is that load factors?
Yes. I appreciate we can’t know yields as that’s commercially sensitive, but loads are a good indication and certainly there aren’t many routes these days which are sustainable at lower than 70%. Certainly encouraging numbers for a first year but they need to keep growing.
 

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Yes. I appreciate we can’t know yields as that’s commercially sensitive, but loads are a good indication and certainly there aren’t many routes these days which are sustainable at lower than 70%. Certainly encouraging numbers for a first year but they need to keep growing.
The key will be the growth this year. I do wonder if when they did their projections both the airport and the airline overestimated the amount of people that will use the route from the South West of England.
 
Many people were shocked by the decision including me! There also seemed quite a lot of people who wanted it to fail and gleefully seemed to delight in anything negative around it.
I have seen quite a few comments online by people connected to the aviation industry who effectively believe that the Welsh government stole the Qatar Airways service from Bristol and refuse to believe otherwise.

Well done Cardiff, rather depressing when some can't wait to see inspiring new routes fail......!
 
The key will be the growth this year. I do wonder if when they did their projections both the airport and the airline overestimated the amount of people that will use the route from the South West of England.
If the Qatar CEO was relying on a sizeable contribution from the West Country he seemed to come out with mixed messages. On the one hand he correctly judged that Bristol area people view LHR as their main airport for long haul; on the other if he was looking at West Country men and women using CWL in decent numbers why did he think they would be more likely to use CWL if they wouldn't use BRS?
 
March's load factor for Cardiff was
If the Qatar CEO was relying on a sizeable contribution from the West Country he seemed to come out with mixed messages. On the one hand he correctly judged that Bristol area people view LHR as their main airport for long haul; on the other if he was looking at West Country men and women using CWL in decent numbers why did he think they would be more likely to use CWL if they wouldn't use BRS?
It does seem a bit odd to me but the airport always seems to try and stress that it's also a service that benefits the South West so they must be hoping a sizeable amount of people from there will use it.
 
The airport sent a team to West Country agents last week, so they are obviously trying to drum up trade from the West of England.
 
The airport sent a team to West Country agents last week, so they are obviously trying to drum up trade from the West of England.
Prior to the launch of the route and for the last year there has been an advertising campaign in the Bristol area. There are two large Electronic digital billboards located by the Avonmeads flyover and by the Lawrence hill roundabout.Both of those were displaying adverts promoting destinations you could fly to with Qatar flying from Cardiff.Plus I have heard commercials for the airline/Cardiff airport on one of the local commercial Radio stations.I haven't seen any advertisments for the Qatar/Cardiff route recently so don't know if the advertising campaign has finished or paused.
 
Two relatives of mine flew back to Perth on Qatar from CWL yesterday. It was the first time they have used the service and they were delighted with the Qatar experience. They had used Qantas to Heathrow on previous flights. They know a lot of people from south Wales and the west country who are not aware of the flights to Cardiff. Local travel agents in western Australia push Qantas. They said they will be spreading the word about the Cardiff service when they get back.
 
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Prior to the launch of the route and for the last year there has been an advertising campaign in the Bristol area. There are two large Electronic digital billboards located by the Avonmeads flyover and by the Lawrence hill roundabout.Both of those were displaying adverts promoting destinations you could fly to with Qatar flying from Cardiff.Plus I have heard commercials for the airline/Cardiff airport on one of the local commercial Radio stations.I haven't seen any advertisments for the Qatar/Cardiff route recently so don't know if the advertising campaign has finished or paused.
There was aso a large advert at Temple Gate (near Temple Meads station) on the side of one of the derelict hotels but it only lasted about three weeks (the advert, not the derelict hotel - I wish it had been the other way around). More recently I saw a prominent one at the side of the approach road to Parkway Station. Now that is a good location given the number of business travellers who use the train from there to commute to London each day.

With long-haul direct flights CWL is up against LHR when it comes to Bristol-area travellers. Even with people like me and my Bristol-based son (because I told him) who are aware of the CWL service, we've found that overall LHR is a better option thus far - for a number of varied reasons. My son and his partner are flying with Qatar from LHR to the Maldives via Doha. At my suggestion he looked at the CWL option but found that LHR suited them better on this occasion.

That happened with NYC when Continental had their Newark service from BRS for five years. The same son who then worked for a US major conglomerate in middle management frequently went to the USA but found using LHR a better use of his time for all but New York area visits.

In time the Qatar service will become better known both in Wales and in the West Country with the consequent increase in awareness leading to more locals using it. It has to be remembered that the service is also used by people coming to the UK and that might be a better source of 'West Country' travellers than those who live there.
 
It is in the end all about awareness of the service and even then airports like Heathrow are going to be attractive to many flyers especially if they are more price concious and not bothered about the journey to LHR which of course is shorter the further east you go from CWL.
The route though does seem to have generated decent demand in it's first year and i'm sure will grow over time as more people become aware of it not just in the UK but abroad as well.
 

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