Australian regulators have denied Qatar Airways’ frequency increase request after officials from the airline testified at an Australian senate inquiry on the airline industry. The Australian authority rejected the Middle Eastern carrier’s request to increase the frequency of its routes to Australia.
Qatar Airways’ Frequency Increase Request
Qatar Airways requested 21 weekly flights to Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney in July, but the Australian authority rejected the request. Considering the increase in operation, the carrier achieved a high load factor on the Oceania route. Qatar Airways was the leading airline in Australia during the pandemic, operating up to 48,000 weekly seats.
Qatar Airways senior vice president of global sales, Matt Roas, said:
”When other airlines turned their back on Australia, Australians turned to us during COVID. The Australian government asked us to help Australians return home. Some members of parliament and from all sides of politics also asked us to help their constituents return home.”
The airline carried over 330,000 passengers in and out of Australia during March 2020. They operated as commercial as well as special charted flights.
Former Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, said:
“permitting Qatar Airways the extra flights would ‘distort’ the region’s aviation sector.”
The airline contributes approximately $3 million to the Australian economy. If the application had been accepted, this figure would have doubled. No reason was given for rejecting the application.
According to Bridget McKenzie, the head of the Australian Senate’s committee looking into the matter, Catherine King, the Transport Minister, did not explain why the request was rejected. McKenzie also accused Qantas and the government of having a close personal and political connection.
Qatar Airways Operation In Australia
Qatar Airways currently flies to four major airports in Australia: Perth (PER), Brisbane (BNE), Sydney (SYD), and Melbourne (MEL), operating 28 weekly flights.
The airline uses Airbus A380 and A350 for Australia since these aircraft are best for ultra-long operation, sending mostly Airbus A350-900s or A350-1000s to Australia.
Qatar Airways recently commenced a strong partnership with Virgin Australia. Both airlines enhanced their route structure in the Middle East and Oceania.
What do you think about the rejection? Are they saving their aviation sector? Feel free to comment down your thoughts about this topic.