British Ambassador to the State of Qatar visits Welsh capital to explore trade and investment opportunities


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British Ambassador to the State of Qatar visits Welsh capital to explore trade and investment opportunities
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During his visit, the Ambassador met with the Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language Eluned Morgan MS, to discuss opportunities for developing trade and business ties between Wales and Qatar as well as potential links through culture and education.

The Ambassador also met with the new interim CEO of Cardiff Airport, Spencer Birns and the Airport’s newly appointed Chair, Wayne Harvey. Qatar’s flagship airline Qatar Airways launched a 5* service in May 2018, linking the national airport of Wales to the hub at Hamad International Airport, Doha. Now in its second year, this vital route has created a new gateway to the UK for international visitors and opened Wales and the South West up to a wealth of global destinations. Flights are currently paused due to international travel restrictions linked to the Covid19 pandemic but are set to resume later this year.

While in Cardiff, the Ambassador also took part in an online discussion with members of the CBI across Wales and South West, The discussion focused on exploring new opportunities to generate import and export between the region and Qatar and also explored the potential to invest in the Wales and South West region with Qatari support - all of which has been complemented by launch of the Qatar Airways service.

Her Majesty's Ambassador to the State of Qatar, Mr Jon Wilks CMG, said: “I am delighted to visit Cardiff again, where I have long-standing family connections, and learn about the many exciting opportunities here and throughout Wales to develop trade and investment with Qatar. I hope to see the resumption of direct flights between Cardiff and Qatar very soon, and the development of this important gateway for Wales and the South West. As a result of this visit, I shall be advocating for Wales in Qatar with extra knowledge and confidence in the months ahead.”

Minister for International Relations, Eluned Morgan, said:
“I was pleased to welcome the UK Ambassador to Qatar, Mr Jon Wilks CMG, to Wales today. We discussed opportunities to increase business links with Qatar which would provide economic benefit to Wales. The Qatar Airways flights between Doha and Cardiff have offered greater access to Qatar, as well as wider markets, and I look forward to these restarting as soon as possible.”

Wayne Harvey, Chair of Cardiff Airport added: “Today we’ve had the pleasure of meeting The British Ambassador to the State of Qatar at Cardiff Airport. There is a very important relationship between the region and the state of Qatar that has been boosted by the Qatar Airways service. We discussed the ways in which Her Majesty’s Ambassador can use the knowledge he has gathered on this visit and take it forward to fly the flag for Wales in Qatar, by supporting the development of Welsh business opportunities in Qatar and exploring the potential for Qatari investment in our region.”
 

StanMan

Member
Mar 6, 2018
19
13
60
Cardiff
Maybe they could convince the Qatar Investment Authority to invest in the airport's infrastructure (such as the new terminal). The QIA already holds a 20% share in the BAA, so there is a precedent of investment in UK airports. I suspect WG could be quite keen to reduce its own shareholding in order to allow someone else to fund the much-needed airport developments. If I recall correctly, QIA spent £900m on buying the 20% in BAA, so any investment in CWL would be minimal in comparison - and QA and the CWL-DOH route would be a direct beneficiary.
 

TheLocalYokel

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 14, 2009
14,722
343
Wurzel Country
Yes
Maybe they could convince the Qatar Investment Authority to invest in the airport's infrastructure (such as the new terminal). The QIA already holds a 20% share in the BAA, so there is a precedent of investment in UK airports. I suspect WG could be quite keen to reduce its own shareholding in order to allow someone else to fund the much-needed airport developments. If I recall correctly, QIA spent £900m on buying the 20% in BAA, so any investment in CWL would be minimal in comparison - and QA and the CWL-DOH route would be a direct beneficiary.
That's certainly something that others have mooted elsewhere. I would assume that the Qatari Government would have to be convinced that (a) business links will be strengthened through the airline link to Doha and (b) that CWL could grow into something more solid as an airport.

It's sometimes said that Qatar Airlines isn't too bothered about making money such is the wealth of its government owners and it is quite happy to use the airline as a means of increasing the country's global recognition and thus improved trade links around the world. There is something of an echo here of the WG's attitude towards its ownership of CWL.

Living across the estuary on the English side I found it of note that South West England and the South West CBI were clearly included as part of the potential customer base for Qatar Airways at CWL. The Qatar Airways CEO obviously thought so too when he previously asserted that CWL's catchment was one of six million people, which is nerly twice the population of the whole of Wales.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that people from the South West, particularly the Bristol-dominated West Country, do use the CWL-DOH link (it would be extremely surprising if none did) but it never seems to be made public to what degree.

The wealthy West Country could be an important contributor to both Qatar Airways at CWL and to the growth of CWL generally but, as far as long-haul is concerned, that region regards LHR as its default airport. How to divert them (including business interests) away from LHR wth its myriad of alternatives to CWL is an interesting exercise. LHR is generally about 40 minutes further away by road than CWL from much of the Bristol city region. Some 'captured' West Country LHR passengers might have been using Qatar Airways at LHR or BHX too.

The visit to Cardiff this week of Britain's ambassador to Qatar was a timely and welcome reminder of the CWL-DOH service and would have pleased both the Welsh and Qatari governments.
 
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