Qatar Airways yesterday announced the launch of flights connecting Doha with Lyon (France) which together with flights to Paris and Nice, is seen as payback for the tiny Gulf nation buying Rafale fighter from Dassault.
Doha has ordered 36 Rafale jets: 24 for $7 Billion in 2015 and 12 more for $2.5 Billion in 2018. The air traffic rights were secured soon after the jets purchase amidst rising speculation that it was a fighter jets-for-flying-rights deal. Earlier, Emirates and Ethiad were denied rights to fly to France from Qatar.
In addition, Doha has entered into an open skies deal with the European Union which enables carriers from both sides to fly to one another’s airports. It main Gulf rivals, Emirates and Etihad (both of the UAE) spurned the Open Skies offer and giving Qatar a huge advantage in ferrying passengers from Asia, Africa and the Middle East to Europe and North America.
The Doha-Lyon flight will operate five times a week starting this June.