With most flights grounded and most Australians unable to leave the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, the leaderboard for the country's most popular international airline has been given a good shake-up with Qatar Airways surging to top spot.
The Gulf airline and Qantas partner carried 30,907 passengers across April 2020, according to the latest statistics released by the federal government's Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).
This was almost ten times the number of travellers ferried into and out of Australia by runners-up Air New Zealand (3,367) and United Airlines (3,335), with ANA close behind then at 3,004.
"An unprecedented challenge needs an unprecedented response and Qatar Airways worked tirelessly to continue providing repatriation options to stranded passengers," said Qatar Airways Group CEO, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker.
"While many airlines suspended operations, we continued to maintain a robust schedule and network," with flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and for the first time Brisbane connecting to some 30 global destinations.
Qantas' overseas schedule was limited to an assortment of repatriation flights for a tally of just 2,028 passengers, according to BITRE, while Virgin Australia carried just 521 passengers on its flights to and from Hong Kong and Los Angeles.
More signs of the strange new travel landscape: globe-striding colossus Emirates carried nobody into or out of Australia across April, due to the near-total closure of its Dubai hub, while neighbour Etihad reported just 292 passengers.
Those numbers may change for the better now that the UAE has reopened its airports to transit passengers, which form the majority of both airlines' business.
Similar transit bans and national lockdowns hammered Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, which counted 1,138 and 707 passengers respectively.
By way of comparison, April 2019 – when the biggest health worry on the horizon was a dose of the winter flu – saw Qantas carry 625,856 passengers on its international network, with Singapore Airlines at a solid place with 294,765 passengers, closely followed by Air New Zealand (241, 214) and Emirates (229,496).
Qatar Airways' April 2019 tally was 106,091, or three times what it carried in April 2020.