Qatar Airways eyes more flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth

The Gulf carrier renews its push to bring at least double-daily flights to Australia’s four largest cities.

By David Flynn, June 3 2024
Qatar Airways eyes more flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth

Qatar Airways plans to dramatically increase flights to Australia and is chasing government approval for an additional 28 flights per week from its Doha hub.

The Oneworld member has re-applied for a slew of flights which were controversially denied last year and sparked a senate inquiry into competition in Australia’s skies.

It’s understood the proposal would deliver one extra flight per day into Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

This would mean a double-daily service for Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, with three flights per day for Melbourne.

Speaking at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) AGM in Dubai, Qatar Airways CEO Badr Mohammed Al Meer told media “we continue our communication with the Australian government, and we see it moving in a positive way.”

“Hopefully in the next few months we’ll get some positive news from Australia, and we look forward to expanding our operations and growing in the Australian market, which will always be to the benefit of the Australian community and passengers.”

The Australian government’s decision to deny Qatar Airways’ request in 2023 – compounded by an inability to explain the rationale behind that call, amid claims of lobbying by Qantas to block the airline, which is a high-profile partner of Virgin Australia – sparked anger from travellers, airports and businesses at a time of high airfares, as well as concern over the influence wielded by Qantas.

A subsequent wide-reaching Senate inquiry turned the spotlight on this usually dry corner of the airline industry, with one of its recommendations being that the Qatar Airways decision be overturned

In the following months, Turkish Airlines received a massive and unexpected boost to its Australian prospects with an immediate allocation of 21 flights per week – which has seen Melbourne-Istanbul flights take off, with Sydney-Istanbul slated to follow by year’s end – increasing to 28 flights per week next year, and 35 flights per week by 2025.

While Qatar Airways is currently entitled to 28 flights per week, it faces a strict limit on how many flights per week it can offer from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane under a strict “bilateral air rights” agreement with the Australian government.

That schedule now stands at double-daily flights from its Doha hub to Melbourne with one daily service from Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Also read: Qatar to launch next-gen Qsuite business class in July

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 967

I have a few theories here and I won't go into all of them as some may be sensitive to current negotiations. Qatar should be granted rights for extra flights; they allowed Turkish Airlines the extra flights, the Australian way is everyone is an equal. To block the extra Qatar flights is just Australian. It's also interesting Singapore Airlines is raising $500 Million in bonds at the moment and Eithad are doing deals with REX.  April - May 2024 will be interesting to say thee least.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 967

TYPO: unAustralian

13 Sep 2022

Total posts 10

Yeah it'll be interesting to see how Etihad behaves in the Aussie market now they have an interline agreement with Rex. Compared to before COVID, Etihad is significantly underserving the Aussie market. Pre-pandemic they had 2x daily A380 flights to SYD, daily A380 to MEL, and daily flights to BNE. Now they only have 1x daily B777 to SYD and MEL. I wouldn't be surprised if they increase capacity now, and fingers crossed the EY A380 may return to Aus.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 323

EY had daily flights to PER before they pulled PER and BNE before the Covid shutdowns.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1199

Given the Federal Government's refusal was based on very hazy factors that the minister refused or was unable to disclose, it would be hard to see how Qatar could be denied again.  

There was a strong suspicion that the initial rejection was at the urging of an AJ led Qantas.  I doubt the government is prepared to burn any more political capital on supporting Qantas in this area.  Being seen to reduce cost of living including airfares probably trumps supporting a business that is no longer quite so loved by the Australian public.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

09 Aug 2016

Total posts 37

I feel very confident if they applied for these extra flights again now that they'd be waved through will minimal fuss

26 Sep 2023

Total posts 9

The QR refusal was one of the dominos that led (fairly or otherwise) to the whole Qantas debacle last Spring. Politically, the timing will never be better for QR to make another application.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 711

Add the political votes that would be secured in Western Sydney from allowing QR in, I'd say it's a foregone conclusion that QR will get everything they ask for.  

01 Jul 2021

Total posts 38

I'd love to see Qatar in Cairns one day.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jan 2013

Total posts 59

Not mentioned here is the unlimited access Qatar Airways has to cities outside of MEL, SYD, BNE and PER.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

26 Jul 2012

Total posts 38

QF 9/10 is an example  of QF's neglect, so QR better product, better service, better fares and more reliability, BRING IT ON, and I'm  sure the Melbourne  market(the biggest city in Australia) will be supporting QR! 

19 Mar 2024

Total posts 1

Qatar Airways seems really determined to amp up their presence in Australia, which is quite inspiring. Despite facing obstacles, their drive to expand in key markets like Australia reflects a savvy approach to economic growth. It's fascinating to see their resilience and eagerness to make things happen.

16 Dec 2016

Total posts 55

Qatar already has the rights to fly into other ports in Australia so why don't they use them? Fly more flights into Perth and Adelaide. Fly Canberra, Gold Coast, Darwin, Cairns. Australia already has the most open skies agreement in the world yet everyone here is just insisting that we let QR do whatever they want.  Don't let the political points that Susan Ley (spokesperson for ex Nats Leader and Chair of Rex) and the Libs used beat the Government dilute the fact that Qatar is not a country that we should immediately give everything they want to. Passengers are not guaranteed to be safe when transiting and also they can easily upgauge aircraft in Melb and Brisbane to increase seats. While everyone here loves to bash Qantas, remember that every other Govt protects its airspace and just because you want to stick your middle finger up to Alan Joyce shouldn't mean that the Australian aviation industry should get killed off by a unfairly subsidised MI carrier. Of course I fly Qatar but I also fly Qantas and I think that the ridiculous lack of perspective on our National carrier in these discussions is out of control.

11 Apr 2018

Total posts 5

I've never heard such nonsense. Flying a 14 hr flight from the Middle East to Cairns or the Gold Coast is clearly not feasible. Otherwise Emirates in cohesion with Qantas would have done it 10 years ago. Opening up Qatar flights to 2 x daily into Australia's 4 biggest cities does nothing but increase competition and force Qantas to lift their game. Sorely needed. 

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 177

Maybe its time to stop protecting Qantas and let the superior competition in to do the job more professionally. Qantas had their chance and are failing with their old aircraft, increased lounge fee's, poor schedules and generally outdated and sub-level service. 

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 91

Am surprised they're not flying into the Gold Coast. 

Massive catchment region from Brisbane to Northern NSW. A demographic that has changed considerably over the years, with more and more business, government and premium demand, plus there is still a strong travel hungry base.  For demand into the GC, if it's not someones end destination there are plenty of VA flights to connect to with minimal hassle. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 161

This would be a win for VA FF base having more premium seats for redemptions if it comes off. 

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 673

As long as Qatar don't choose the horrid 777 from Sydney for the second daily flight. I'd much prefer the far superior A350 for that long haul sector.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 967

Avios coming soon to a Velocity Frequent Flyer account. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Feb 2022

Total posts 6

Hopefully The Government will approve quickly!

We have ridiculous airfares because we don't have competition and this would go a long way to improving that!

Etihad - Etihad Guest

10 Apr 2019

Total posts 13

There are over 60 other international airlines flying into Australia and QR doesnt even use all the weekly flights they're allowed currently. There is plenty of competition, and if you think a few extra flights QR who are already one of the most expensive airlines out of Australia will decrease airfares you're dreamin'

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1025

QR could just buy VA and get access to the AU side of the bilateral limits.


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