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First Qatar Airways flight from Doha lands at Canberra Airport

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Photo credit: Canberra Airport

After more than a year of anticipation, and a 50-minute delay, the inaugural flight of Qatar Airways touched down in Canberra on Monday morning.

A water cannon salute welcomed the Boeing B777 aircraft, marking the start of a new daily route from the capital to Doha via Sydney.

At gate four, crowds gathered by the glass to toast the plane's arrival while a waiting media pack were served dates and Arabic coffee, a traditional Qatar "energy kick".

The plane, which seats 358, touched down at 9.25am after a flyover of the city. But by 2pm, it had returned to the sky to begin the almost 18-hour journey to Doha, which includes another brief stopover in Sydney.

Qatar Airways is now the second international carrier flying through the capital, after Singapore Airlines opened Canberra back up to the world in 2016.

Senior manager of Australasia for Qatar Airways Adam Radwanski said he was excited to take Canberra customers to 150 destinations across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and was already working with government agencies to simplify their travel.

"This is the home of government in Australia, it's just been named among the top destinations in the world to visit by Lonely Planet so Canberra is an important destination for us," Mr Radwanski said.

Fares to Europe start at $1205 and he said Qatar's extensive network across the continent would make Greek Island hopping and other travel a lot easier for Canberrans.

"It will give opportunities to explore destinations that otherwise they would struggle to get to with double, triple stops."

Seating 42 in business class and 316 in economy, the large belly of the Boeing B777 aircraft would also allow for more freight and export opportunities out of the ACT, Mr Radwanksi said.

Passengers on board Monday's inaugural flight included Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker and the Australian Ambassador for Qatar, Dr Axel Wabenhorst.

Greeting them at the gate, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the new service would add more than 120,000 seats a year into the Canberra market, and formed part of the government's broader agenda to make it "easier and cheaper" to get to and from the capital.

Canberra Airport executive chairman Terry Snow said "an airline of this stature" will boost Canberra's reputation as a leading tourist destination.

Source: Canberra Times

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