Qatar jet delivers Arab royals to Rotorua

An A320 Qatar Airlines plane that visited Rotorua International Airport on Saturday was carrying members of Qatar's royal family.

The plane then went to Auckland to recharge, and returned to collect its passengers before leaving New Zealand from Rotorua yesterday.

The privately owned A320 is the same size aircraft Air New Zealand uses for Rotorua's transtasman service between Rotorua and Sydney.

Airport chief executive Alastair Rhodes said the Rotorua International Airport welcomed international charters such as the Qatar Airlines A320 flight.

"This arrival illustrates our capabilities in accommodating services of this nature, both in relation to the size of the aircraft, but also in our ability to manage all the formalities that go with receiving an international flight," he said.

"The direct benefits of an arrival like this are not limited to the airport, but also benefit the wider Bay of Plenty region. We are seeing a growing interest in exclusive charter flights, which further demonstrate the attractiveness of the Bay of Plenty as a destination."

The Rotorua Daily Post understands the family stayed in and around the Taupo and Rotorua regions and enjoyed local attractions.

The family has ruled the Arab emirate since 1825. The Emir is Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. He became Emir in June after his father abdicated.

The sheikh has two sons and two daughters with his first wife and a son and daughter with his second.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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