Qatar Airways extends Brisbane flights, defers non-stop Auckland route

The world's second-longest flight won't return until November 2021, but Brisbane-Doha will now continue into 2022.

By Chris Chamberlin, January 22 2021
Qatar Airways extends Brisbane flights, defers non-stop Auckland route

Qatar Airways will continue to serve Brisbane over the coming year, with its Doha-Brisbane route now extended until at least January 2022.

As well, the airline's Brisbane-Auckland tag flight will stretch until October 2021.

This had been set to end in late March, when non-stop Doha-Auckland flights were to resume and Brisbane was to depart from Qatar's network.

However, as international travel restrictions remain in place in both Australia and New Zealand, these flights will continue as-is for now, with a single aircraft carrying some passengers from Doha to Brisbane, and others beyond Brisbane to Auckland after a fuel stop.

Qatar Airways' non-stop Doha-Auckland flights are now pencilled in for a November 2021 return, heralding a comeback for the world's second-longest commercial route.

But unlike the airline's original plan, the return of non-stop Auckland flying won't see Brisbane disappear from Qatar Airways' map.

Instead, Brisbane will get its own Doha-Brisbane return route, completely decoupled from New Zealand.

From late March through October 2021, the Doha-Brisbane-Auckland service will move from the current Airbus A350-1000 to a Boeing 777-300ER.

Although an older member of the Qatar Airways fleet, the Boeing 777s currently scheduled are those offering Qsuites in business class, as passengers had been enjoying on A350-1000 flights.

Come November, Doha-Brisbane moves back to an Airbus A350-1000, while Doha-Auckland adopts the Boeing 777-200LR: a jet with the added range to fly non-stop between Qatar and New Zealand, which again has Qsuites.

Australia-NZ travel bubble won't include Qatar Airways flights

In the meantime, passengers travelling solely between Australia and New Zealand are unable to travel on Qatar Airways' Brisbane-Auckland tag flights.

While this may be disappointing for those anticipating a long-awaited Australia/New Zealand 'travel bubble', Qatar Airways flights wouldn't qualify for those quarantine-free arrangements in any case.

That's because if Qatar Airways were to carry passengers travelling solely from Brisbane to Auckland or vice versa, they'd be sharing a plane with those from further afield, and would then be expected to quarantine upon arrival: just like those other passengers.

Qatar hopes Brisbane flights can continue longer-term

Separately, Qatar Airways has been lobbying the Australian Government to increase the number of flights its can operate to the country's key airports on a weekly basis.

Under the caps, only 21 weekly direct flights are permitted across Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.

When daily flights are operating to those first three cities, this leaves no traffic rights for Brisbane – although with international flights to Australia reduced across the board, the airline can squeeze Brisbane into its schedule for the time being.

Beyond the '21 flights per week' cap, Qatar is also permitted a further seven flights that route via one of those four Australian cities and continue to another port.

Previously, those rights had been used to offer Canberra-Sydney-Doha flights.

Adelaide-Doha flights are not counted under these caps. 

PREVIOUS, September 30 2020 | Qatar Airways is extending its Doha-Brisbane-Auckland flights through March 2021, before returning Doha-Auckland to a marathon non-stop service.

Clocking in at 14,535km and almost 18 hours from gate to gate, the Doha-Auckland route will resume its status as the world's second-longest flight, trailing only Singapore Airlines' non-stop Singapore-Newark/New York route.

Due to the broad impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international travel, as well as various government and border restrictions, Qatar Airways pulled out of Auckland earlier this year, but made its return in August with flights operating via Brisbane.

That temporary Doha-Brisbane-Auckland route was previously slated to conclude on October 23 2020, but will now run three times each week until March 27 2021, when Auckland and Doha return to a non-stop pairing.

Using an Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, passengers in business class will continue to find Qsuites waiting for them, offering the privacy of a closing door at each seat – and, for some passengers, the ability to form a double bed between two seats.

Those travelling as a group of four can also create a private social zone between themselves.

While Qatar Airways had previously suspended new ticket sales on flights into Australia as well as into New Zealand due to arrival caps and other government restrictions, passengers without an existing reservation can now purchase flights into both Brisbane and Auckland from December 18 2020.

It’s expected that flights operating into both cities until that date will primarily accommodate travellers with existing bookings whose journey has been impacted by those government restrictions, which have prevented airlines from operating full inbound flights.

Bookings on outbound flights from both cities, however, are much more readily available – given the limitations apply only to arriving passengers, rather than those departing – although Australian residents will still require a government-granted exemption to leave the country.

Qatar Airways is not selling tickets for purely trans-Tasman flying between Brisbane and Auckland.

The long Auckland-Doha trek returns

As of March 28 2021, flights between Doha and Auckland will revert to daily non-stop services, as they were prior to COVID-19.

On this route, Qatar Airways will roll out its Boeing 777-200LR, as is also equipped with business class Qsuites: certain to be appreciated by passengers on the 17hr 50min journey from Auckland to Doha, as well as the still-lengthy 16.5hr jaunt from Doha to Auckland.

Qatar Airways is not currently selling Brisbane-Doha flights beyond March 27 2021, but had recently requested “a reasonable increase” to its Australian traffic rights.

If granted, this would pave the way for an ongoing (and daily) Brisbane service, without the airline needing to cut back its existing flights to Sydney, Melbourne or Perth – or, Canberra via Sydney – which fall under the same traffic limits as would apply to Brisbane.

The airline’s flights between Adelaide and Doha aren’t subject to the same limits, and don’t impact upon Qatar Airways’ ability to fly to those other capitals.

Read: Qatar Airways makes a move for year-round Brisbane flights

Qatar Airways’ Brisbane, Auckland flight schedules

Through late March 2021, Qatar Airways’ Doha-Brisbane-Auckland flights adopt the following schedule.

Route

Operating days

Departs

Arrives

Doha to Brisbane (QR912)

Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays

12:40am

9:30pm

Brisbane to Auckland (QR912)

Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays

11pm

5:15am
(next day)

Auckland to Brisbane (QR913)

Sundays, Wednesdays, Fridays

8pm

8:45pm

Brisbane to Doha (QR913)

Sundays, Wednesdays, Fridays

10:15pm

6:10am
(next day)

From March 28 2021, when Brisbane flights are suspended and Auckland-Doha runs non-stop, the schedule moves to the below.

Route

Operating days

Departs

Arrives

Doha to Auckland (QR920)

Mondays to Thursdays, Saturdays

2:35am

4:05am
(next day)

Doha to Auckland (QR920)

Fridays and Sundays

3:15am

4:45am
(next day)

Auckland to Doha (QR921)

Daily

2:30pm

11:20pm

Note that departure and arrival times above reflect the local time at the origin and destination, respectively. Also, while the departure and arrival times vary during the week for the Doha-Auckland flight, it remains a daily service.

It remains to be seen whether Qatar Airways will continue serving Brisbane beyond March next year, with Auckland passengers no longer helping to fill up flights to and from the Sunshine State.

Also read: Qatar Airways brings back Adelaide-Doha flights

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 207

Good news. Hope the government gives QR traffic rights to Brisbane to make the service permanent (and more to SYD and MEL). The current restrictions compared to Emirates are not reasonable and disadvantages the consumer. 

07 Jan 2016

Total posts 31

... especially now that Ethiad has pulled out.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 575

Let's hope Qatar Airways actually use the superior A351 as per the advertising & marketing hype and not sneakily switch it to the inferior 777. 

04 Dec 2017

Total posts 64

Agree; the Airbus 350 would make that 14-15 hour flight much nicer.

07 Jan 2014

Total posts 44

This service is already presently operated by the B777-300ER and has been for a few months now.


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