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First passenger flights take off between Cardiff and Doha

The new link means holidaymakers and businesses in Wales can connect with 150 destinations via Doha’s principal airport.

The first passenger flights between Cardiff and Doha took place on Tuesday.

A Qatar Airways Airbus A350-900 – with wings made at the manufacturer’s plant in North Wales – touched down in the Welsh capital shortly after 12.30pm.

It carried a host of senior figures and was welcomed by a water cannon salute on the runway.

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The aircraft is given a water cannon salute (Qatar Airways/PA)

The return service departed at 3.55pm.

Among those on board the inaugural inbound flight was Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones, who described the route as a “huge boost” for the country.

He said: “It will open up Wales’ links with the rest of the world and deliver new economic, leisure and travel opportunities for Welsh businesses and the people of Wales.

“Providing a direct route into the world’s fastest growing hub airport, Hamad International Airport, will also bring Wales closer to leading global markets such as India, China, Singapore and Australasia.”

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A number of VIPs travelled on the first flight (Qatar Airways/PA)

The new link means holidaymakers and businesses in Wales can connect with 150 destinations via Doha’s principal airport.

It is the first time Qatar Airways has served Wales.

The carrier already operates flights from London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh, with services from London Gatwick beginning on May 22.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns, who was also on the first flight, said: “This is the fast track for Welsh companies doing business in the Gulf.

“Qatar is the UK’s third largest export market in the Middle East and accounts for £35 billion of existing investment. Passengers disembarking from the first direct flight from Doha to Cardiff will get the unmistakable message that Wales is open for business.”

The route will go on to be served by Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

It was scheduled to be a daily service, but this has been scaled back to five flights per week until next month due to a delay in aircraft deliveries.

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