Qatar Airways has announced that it will begin flying directly to Amsterdam from Doha in June, coinciding with the annual summer rush when many residents leave the country for holiday.
The daily flights will start on June 16, making the Dutch city the 34th European destination for the national carrier.
The flight will heat up competition with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which launched its direct route in June 2012 and is currently the only operator providing a non-stop flight between Doha and Amsterdam.
Qatar Airways will fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the route daily. KLM currently travels between Doha and Amsterdam five days a week.
The national carrier’s flight also appears to be slightly shorter – by about 15 minutes – clocking 6 hours 35 minutes, and its flight times will likely be more appealing.
While KLM flies to Amsterdam overnight, the Qatar Airways flight will leave Doha at 8:20am or 8:25am, arriving into the Netherlands at around 2pm.
The return flight out of Amsterdam leaves in the afternoon and gets back to Qatar at 11:15pm or 11:25pm, depending on the day, according to a statement issued by the airline.
The added convenience of the timings, however, looks like it will come at a price.
A search on flight booking website Expedia showed that for a flight leaving Doha on June 18 and returning from Amsterdam a week later, flying on KLM would cost QR2,690.
This is more than QR2,200 cheaper than the direct Qatar Airways flights on the same days, which came out to QR4,910.
Business connections between Qatar and the Netherlands are long-standing, with Qatar Shell being a key firm here and Dutch university Stenden operating a branch in central Doha.
The increase in flight choices will be no doubt be welcomed by the thousands of Dutch nationals living and working in Qatar, but also be a draw for tourists who regularly flock to Amsterdam.
Many Gulf residents head to the Netherlands to flee the searing summer heat. The country has the highest museum density in the world, including the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, Hermitage Amsterdam and the Rijksmuseum.
The city’s Schipol airport is also known as a European hub, connecting the Gulf and wider Middle East to the US and Canada.