We ran an article last month quoting a BBC report which said that Qatar Airways was due to recommence flying from Cardiff Airport by the end of the year.
The airline flew to Cardiff before the pandemic but services have not yet resumed.
The BBC quoted the CEO of Cardiff Airport, Spencer Birns, as confirming that discussions were ongoing to agree a date for services to resume.
I raised this with Qatar Airways two weeks ago when I was in Birmingham for the relaunch of that route but they did not have (or were not willing to reveal) a firm date.
According to @SeanM1997 on Twitter, Qatar Airways has filed for slots for four weekly flights from Cardiff to Doha starting on 18th December 2023.
Services would operate on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, with a 14.15 departure from Cardiff.
Four flights per week would be a drop on the daily flight operated before the pandemic, but is perhaps more realistic given that it needs to fill a Boeing 787.
Pre pandemic, the Welsh Government was paying Qatar Airways £500,000 per year in ‘marketing support’ to secure the route. It isn’t clear if these payments will resume.
The return of the airline would be a huge boost for Cardiff Airport which has lost most of its scheduled services since the pandemic. Most recently, Wizz Air closed its Cardiff base in January 2023 – despite only opening it in April 2022.
Today (21st July) there are only 17 flights scheduled to depart from Cardiff Airport. This comprises:
- 3 x KLM to Amsterdam
- 8 x Tui flights on holiday routes
- 1 x Vueling to Alicante
- 2 x Ryanair to Dublin and Faro
- 1 x Aer Lingus to Belfast
- 1 x Loganair to Edinburgh
- 1 x Eastern Airways to Paris Orly
The return of Qatar Airways cannot happen soon enough.