Qatar Airways plans Birmingham-Doha route

Qatar Airways plans to fly from Birmingham airport after taking delivery of new aircraft later this year.

The carrier currently operates five services a day from Heathrow and 10 a week from Manchester to its base at Doha.

Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways chief executive, confirmed: “We are going to start operating [from Doha] to other UK airports. We will operate to three new destinations in the UK.”

Birmingham will be one of the airports, Al Baker told Travel Weekly, but he declined to identify the others. Asked when the services would begin, Al Baker said: “It depends how soon we get the additional aircraft from Boeing.”

The airline confirmed the Birmingham-Doha service would operate daily. A Birmingham airport spokesman appeared surprised at the news, but said: “We welcome the announcement by the Qatar Airways chief executive of services between Doha and Birmingham.”

Other UK airports under consideration, according to Qatar sources, include Edinburgh and a return to Gatwick. Travel Weekly understands Qatar is also considering a return to double-daily services from Manchester.

The airline cut its Manchester services from 14 to 10 at the end of March. Qatar withdrew from Gatwick in May 2011, arguing there was no feeder traffic on to long-haul flights at the airport and that domestic traffic “was not enough”.

Al Baker has previously announced Qatar is looking at other UK airports. He said last year: “We have several options.”

Birmingham is the UK’s third-largest airport outside London and the UK’s seventh largest overall, handling nine million passengers last year.

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