QATAR Airways believes the potential result of the Australian Government reversing its decision and allowing its doubling of capacity to the country would be a reduction in airfares in the vicinity of 7-10%, as well as more than $3 billion in economic benefit.
The claim was made in the Senate this morning by Vice President Global Sales Matt Raos, who added the extra Qatar flights would see a $1 billion improvement in inbound tourism.
“We believe the arguments for additional flights into Australia are clear and they are strong, granting QR 29 additional flights to…Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, and another seven flights under the regional package would have a positive impact on the Australian economy,” Raos said.
He admitted Qatar was “surprised and shocked” by the decision to block its expansion without reason, reminding the Senate Australians turned to QR while other airlines, including Qantas Airways, turned their back on the country during the pandemic.
“After Qantas suspended all its international passenger flights at the end of Mar 2020, we were one of the few airlines that kept flying in and out of Australia…adding an extra 48,000 weekly seats to bring stranded Australians home,” Raos said.
“We also never stopped paying refunds to our customers, or their travel agents, during and after COVID-19; so far we have paid out $600 million in refunds to our Australian customers.”
Senior Vice President Aeropolitical & Corporate Affairs Fathi Atti also revealed Qatar learned about the rejection of its expansion through the media, days before receiving a formal letter from the Australian Government.
Proceedings confirmed further consultation about the initial decision will be revisited on 26 Oct, where a possible reversal could be granted.
Melbourne and Brisbane airports yesterday called for the Australian Government to review its decision to knock back Qatar’s bid for more flights.