The British Embassy this weekend hosted the UK’s Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, for a series of events in Qatar to demonstrate the strong ties between the UK and Qatar in a range of areas, including trade and investment, defence, and to showcase the UK’s leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The events included a world-class air display in conjunction with Qatar Airways, an Embassy reception, and a STEM education event.
Wing Commander Andrew Keith, Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, said:
Overseas tours such as this are one of the key roles of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team. We regularly travel abroad during the display season to promote both the ‘best of British’ and the Royal Air Force and this is a focused series of events, to broaden the delivery of that important message.
It also provides opportunities for defence engagement and promoting science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) through events with students and educational institutes.
Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the State of Qatar, Mr Ajay Sharma, said:
I am delighted to have been able to welcome the Red Arrows to Qatar. Such visits are a very visible demonstration and celebration of the strength of UK-Qatar relations. They showcase the best of the UK from the technical mastery of the pilots to the excellence of our engineering and aviation industry. I hope that this will inspire new generations to get involved and study STEM subjects.
I would also like to give a special thanks to our key partners and sponsors, Qatar Airways and Rolls-Royce, and the additional support from BAE Systems and Alfardan Premier Motors.
The Red Arrows opened their visit with a world class aerobatic display over Doha’s iconic Corniche on Saturday 30 September. The Embassy partnered with Qatar Airways to help celebrate the airline’s 20th anniversary. As part of this, a Qatar Airways Airbus A350 joined the team for part of the display. A joint event took place at the Sheraton for senior Qatari representatives and members of the international community. The UK’s Secretary of State for Wales, The Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP was the UK Ministerial guest of honour. A large crowd watched this aerobatic display from the Corniche.
Mr Cairns said:
I am delighted to be in Doha on this important day to celebrate the links between our two countries, and to further celebrate the 20th anniversary of Qatar Airways. The airline has this year announced the launch of a new frequent service from Cardiff Airport, linking South Wales to Qatar and significant global markets via its capital city in 2018. I met regularly with senior managers at Qatar Airways to help secure this service. This new route will send a positive message about an outward looking Wales developing international trade and tourism links to the rest of the world.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said:
Today the Red Arrows have helped Qatar Airways celebrate in style to reach a major milestone in our history, with a thrilling display to mark our 20th anniversary. We were delighted to have them join one of our Airbus A350 aircraft in this historic fly-by over the impressive Doha skyline. I am very proud of all that Qatar Airways has achieved in the past 20 years and as we embark on the next 20 years I look forward to continuing to demonstrate the passion, innovation and award-winning customer service we have become renowned for.
Later on Saturday, British Ambassador to Qatar, Mr Ajay Sharma, hosted a reception at his Residence in honour of the Red Arrows. Members of the Red Arrows team gave an introduction to their work and spoke about what it takes to perform to this very high standard.
On Sunday, the British Council and Qatar University held a discussion entitled ‘A day in the life of an engineer’, with members of the Red Arrows, academics and students. The event focused on the importance of education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and how these might lead to a role as a Red Arrows engineer.
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The Red Arrows are officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team and are the public face of the Royal Air Force. As national ambassadors, the team represents the United Kingdom at home and overseas.
Flying British-built fast-jets, the Red Arrows are renowned as one of the world’s best, and most recognisable, display teams. The Red Arrows are regarded as a great British brand and often perform at major, national occasions. An example was at the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The Red Arrows have completed more than 4,800 displays, in 57 countries. 2017 is the team’s 53rd consecutive season. Overseas visits are an important part of the Red Arrows’ activity, with each display complemented by carefully-organised ground engagements showcasing the best of British.
The Red Arrows aim to perform a world-class display of precision aerobatics. This 20-minute show used nine fast-jets, sometimes flying as close as six-feet apart at more than 400 miles per hour. The Red Arrows are known for flying their signature Diamond Nine shape formation.
This year’s visit is part of a five-week overseas tour by the Red Arrows, supporting UK interests across mainland Europe and the Middle East. The team is honoured and privileged to be welcomed back to Qatar, showcasing the friendship and partnerships between the two countries. It’s hoped the visit will highlight important links spanning trade, business, engineering, aviation, education and tourism. For 2017, the Red Arrows carried out a display at the Corniche on September 30, together with high-profile flypast. A number of ground engagement events are also planned.
Famous for flying BAE Systems Hawk fast-jets in a Diamond Nine formation, the Red Arrows are based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.