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Sector Focus


Qatar Airways’ anniversary


Qatar Airways has celebrated its third anniversary flying to and from Birmingham Airport. The airline has carried


almost 400,000 passengers from Birmingham to Doha during its tenure at the airport. In celebration of its birthday,


the airline showcased its new A350 on the lunchtime service from Birmingham to Doha which holds the new Qsuite. This business class product,


promoted as a first in business, has fully lie-flat double beds, and a new quad configuration; a private space fully adaptable with movable panels that allow passengers to transform the area in to a social or business space to work or socialise at 40,000 feet. Nick Barton, chief executive


of Birmingham Airport, said: “Birmingham Airport is delighted to join Qatar Airways in celebrating its third anniversary. "Bringing the A350 to


Birmingham Airport today gave passengers the opportunity to sample all that this new aircraft has to offer. “Having carried almost


400,000 passengers during its three years, Qatar Airways is a key partner airline of Birmingham Airport. “The service gives


passengers access direct to Doha and onwards to over 160 destinations around the world. We look forward to continuing to work together with Qatar Airways in the future.” Gary Kershaw, country manager (UK & Ireland) at Qatar Airways, said: “It is a hugely exciting time for Qatar Airways. The demand from our UK destinations, including Birmingham, has never been stronger. That’s why this summer we’re providing our highest ever number of connections between the UK and Ireland and Doha.” The new A350 aircraft


features many environmental benefits including the latest in aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. The A350 is usually used on routes from Doha onwards, while passengers who fly on Qatar Airways from Birmingham Airport usually fly on a Dreamliner 787 aircraft in a two-cabin configuration, comprising 22 in business class seats and 232 economy class seats.


72 CHAMBERLINK May 2019


Business Travel Sector Focus The latest news from the sectors that matter to business


All aboard for extended evening railway services


More evening railway services are due to be introduced by West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern this month. More frequent evening services


and later last trains are part of a range of service improvements being introduced by the train operators. There will also be direct services to more destinations, extra capacity and enhanced timetables across the region.


‘Rail has a massive role to play in the prosperity of the region’


Services between Birmingham


New Street and Coventry will have trains up to 45 minutes later than under the current timetable, including a 00:40 departure from Birmingham on weekdays. On the Cross City North, four


trains an hour will operate in the evening after 1900, and also later with the introduction of a new 23:40 departure from Birmingham New Street to Four Oaks on weekdays, and a 23:25 departure on Saturdays. Services calling at local stations to


Wolverhampton will see an additional train from Birmingham


Train gain (from left): Malcolm Holmes, Andy Street and Richard Brooks at Smethwick Galton Bridge


New Street at 23:55 on Mondays to Fridays (2338 on Saturdays). Services from Birmingham Snow


Hill to Kidderminster, Dorridge and Whitlocks End will double frequency during the evening after 19:00 on Mondays through to Saturdays. Mayor of the West Midlands


Andy Street said: “This is great news for those many people who are working in the evening.” Richard Brooks, customer


experience director for West Midlands Railway and London


Northwestern Railway, said: “Rail has a massive role to play in the prosperity of the region and train travel has never been more popular. So it is important that our timetables provide frequent and reliable services.” Malcolm Holmes, executive


director for West Midlands Rail Executive, said: “Later evening services gives people more flexibility to work and socialise.” The new timetable will operate


from 19 May. City’s hotel sector targets growth


Birmingham’s hotel sector is showing growth as it prepares to welcome a boost in tourism numbers ahead of the region hosting Coventry City of Culture 2021 and Commonwealth Games 2022, a new study by PwC has revealed. Birmingham has seen


one the UK’s highest increases in Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) of five per cent, only behind other major tourist destinations, such as Brighton, Gatwick and Liverpool, according to PwC’s latest ‘UK Hotels Forecast Update’. The city remains an affordable


destination with the average room rate at £70.38, compared to more


expensive cities such as York, Brighton and Bristol. While the number of rooms available in the city stayed the same, the occupancy rate saw an increase of two per cent from December 2017 to December 2018. The report shows that


in terms of the key performance measurement metric,


RevPAR, Birmingham has seen one of the greatest


increases of five per cent, however it remains below the UK regional average at £53.68, compared to £55.46. As the city prepares to welcome


heightened visitor numbers with major sporting and cultural events


in the calendar, the West Midlands continues to be one of the UK’s most popular destination for conferences, meetings and events. Matthew Hammond (pictured),


PwC’s Birmingham office senior partner, said: “Birmingham and the West Midlands continue to perform well in the hotel sector, which is testament to the region’s cultural heritage, high quality tourist and business destinations, and national and international connectivity. “As we prepare to put the West


Midlands on the global stage through Coventry City of Culture 2021 and the Commonwealth Games 2022, we are seeing an unprecedented period of investment in the region, which will result in a growth in visitor numbers.”


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