Qatar Airways is bringing Brisbane under its wing, with the launch of a daily flight connecting the Queensland capital to Qatar's Doha hub and, beyond that, an extensive network into the UK, Europe and Africa.
The Oneworld member will launch Brisbane-Doha flights on March 29 using a Boeing 777-300ER.
However, Brisbane is – for now – only a short-term addition, with flights running through to mid-April.
At the same time, and for the same two-week period, Qatar plans to increase its presence in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
- Sydney will see a third daily service, with a mix of the Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 777-300EE
- Melbourne will shift up to twice-daily, also on an Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 777-300ER
- Perth also goes double-daily, with the Airbus A380 superjumbo complemented by a Boeing 777-300ER
With the exception of Perth's Airbus A380, all of the Australian flights will feature the highly-regarded Qsuite business class.
Here's how Qatar Airways' amplified Australian schedule shapes up, with new flights marked in bold.
- QR907: Sydney (3.50pm) to Doha (11.45pm) - Boeing 777-300ER
- QR999: Sydney (8.45pm) to Doha (5.05am) - Boeing 777-300ER
- QR909: Sydney (9.15pm) to Doha (5.30am) - Airbus A350-1000
- QR906: Doha (9.15am) to Sydney (6.30am) - Boeing 777-300ER
- QR998: Doha (7pm) to Sydney (4.25pm) - Boeing 777-300ER
- QR908: Doha (8.30pm) to Sydney (5.55pm) - Airbus A350-1000
- QR905: Melbourne (9.35pm) to Doha (5.25am) - Airbus A350-1000
- QR995: Melbourne (3pm) to Doha (10.50pm) - Boeing 777-300ER
- QR994: Doha (9.05am) to Melbourne (6am) - Boeing 777-300ER
- QR904: Doha (8.35pm) to Melbourne (5.30pm) - Airbus A350-1000
- QR912: Doha (8pm) to Brisbane (5.20pm) - Boeing 777-300ER
- QR913: Brisbane (9.20pm) to Doha 5.20am) - Boeing 777-300ER
- QR905: Perth (10.45pm) to Doha (5.35am) - Airbus A380
- QR991: Perth (3.45pm) to Doha (10.35pm) - Boeing 777-300ER
- QR900: Doha (1.50am) to Perth (6.20pm) - Airbus A380
- QR990: Doha (8.40pm) to Perth (1.10pm) - Boeing 777-300ER
The new flights represent an extra 48,000 seats hitting the Australian market at a time when more and more people are looking to get home.
"We know there are many people who want to be with their families and loved ones during this difficult time," says Qatar Airways Group CEO, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker.
"We are thankful to the Australian Government, airports and staff for their support in helping us to add additional flights to get people home, and in particular, to bring flights to Brisbane."
While most Australians are currently prevented from leaving the country under a nation-wide travel restriction, there are still plenty of foreign nations – from executives to holiday-makers – currently in Australia who are eager to return home.
Earlier this week, the UK government urged all British travellers abroad to return immediately, while commercial flight options are still available.
"Around the world, more airlines are suspending flights and more airports are closing, some without any notice," Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Monday in a statement. "If you are on holiday abroad, the time to come home is now, while you still can."
Qatar Airways, which only last week was ready to follow other airlines in scaling back its flights and winding down its Airbus A380 fleet, is now adding flights and relying on the superjuimbo to help get more passengers home.
“It’s a great test of a company’s agility and flexibility right now, because every time you’ve got a plan, the world changes when you wake up the next morning,” Simon Talling-Smith, Qatar Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, tells Executive Traveller.
“But it’s clear there is such a very strong desire amongst people all over the world to get home, so that is what we are wholly focused on right now – how can we get people home from right around the world.”
Qatar Airways' network
Popular European destinations which still see Qatar Airways flights include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Istanbul, London, Munich, Paris, Rome Vienna and Zurich.
Also remaining on Qatar's network map in the Americas: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, São Paulo and Washington DC.
There are a half-dozen destinations in Africa, among them Cape Town and Johannesburg, and twenty more across Asia.
A regularly-updated list of all cities to which Qatar Airways flies is available at qatarairways.com.