Toulouse – Doha: the first direct flight of Qatar Airways has landed

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Qatar Airways yesterday operated its maiden flight between Doha and Toulouse. Its CEO Akbar Al Baker wants to quickly switch from three to seven weekly flights on the Airbus A350.

The first Doha-Toulouse flight landed yesterday at 14:30 on the runway of Toulouse-Blagnac airport under a sirocco wind. A crowd of officials and elected officials greeted the arrival of the Airbus A330-200 which was on its first rotation with nearly 210 passengers on board. Among them, the powerful head of the Qatari company, Akbar Al Baker, who made the journey for this maiden flight.

The flight is operated by a 260-seat Airbus A330-200.
MDD – Laurent Dard

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It was in March that Qatar Airways announced to everyone’s surprise the opening of a direct connection between Toulouse and Doha at the rate of three weekly flights (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday) all year round for a call price starting at 661 EUR. The first recently commercialized flight recorded an 80% occupancy rate. For the Qatar Airways chief, connecting Doha and “vibrant Toulouse, France’s fourth largest city and Airbus headquarters was obvious,” he said during a press conference upon the plane’s arrival.

Tourists for the Rugby World Cup

Toulouse is the fourth French destination served by Qatar Airways. After Paris (21 weekly flights), Nice and Lyon (5 flights) it is therefore the Pink City that connects to the Doha hub which opens to 190 destinations worldwide. Because even though Qatar aims to welcome six million tourists by 2030, passenger volumes on this route will mainly be provided by connecting passengers. “This flight to Doha obviously opens the doors to the Middle East, but also to Africa, Oceania and Asia,” said Philippe Crebassa, president of Toulouse-Blagnac airport. Furthermore, for the Rugby World Cup, passengers from Japan and Australia have already booked their tickets to Toulouse via Doha, says Bruno Balerdi, commercial director of the airport.

Philippe Crebassa and Akbar Al Baker detailed Qatar Airways' ambitions at Toulouse - Blagnac.

Philippe Crebassa and Akbar Al Baker detailed Qatar Airways’ ambitions at Toulouse – Blagnac.
MDD – Laurent Dard

The ambition of a daily flight in an Airbus A350

In a full year, with an occupancy rate of 80%, around 64,000 passengers were able to use this line, currently operated by 250-seat Airbus A330s. But Akbar Al Baker has stronger ambitions: “As soon as possible, i.e. when Airbus delivers the planes we have ordered, we will be ready to operate a daily flight between Toulouse and Doha on an Airbus A350,” announced the Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways. After opening a direct flight between Toulouse and Montreal at the beginning of July with Air Canada, the airport wants to give itself time to “digest” these two big news before welcoming new transcontinental destinations. But for Philippe Crebassa, both Montreal and Doha ensure that “Toulouse-Blagnac airport takes on a fully global dimension”.

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