Anthony Albanese denies he received any lobbying from Qantas regarding Qatar blocking

Anthony Albanese denies he received any lobbying from Qantas regarding Qatar blocking

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has denied that he was lobbied by Qantas regarding his government’s decision to block additional capacity for Qatar Airways.

The Albanese Government has come under pressure to reveal documents that would explain its decision to reject Qatar’s bid, which was advised upon by Qantas, as the many excuses given by transport minister Catherine King have not landed well with the travel industry or general public.

The Coalition and Greens have called for the disclosure of these documents as many in the industry point to the friendship between Albanese and outgoing Qantas Group boss Alan Joyce, particularly as Albanese’s son was recently welcomed into the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton has accused Albanese of having a “sweetheart deal” with outgoing Joyce and criticised the blocking of the middle eastern airline, saying it would raise travel prices for those looking to go on holidays or see family.

The Prime Minister dismissed the opposition leader’s claim, telling parliament that he had one “substantive conversation” on the blocking, and it was not with Qantas, though he did not disclaim who it was with.

“I received no lobbying from Qantas on this issue,” the prime minister said in question time.

Albanese went on to say that air route agreements are made with governments, not airlines, and highlighted that the Coalition took four years to approve additional flights with Qatar Airways between 2018 to 2022 due to concerns about competition.

The move to block Qatar Airways from doubling its capacity into Australia has received widespread criticism from an array of industry figures, politicians and companies.

CATO came out on Friday asking the government to review its decision, while acting premier of Queensland Steven Miles has backed extra capacity for Qatar Airways.

Flight Centre has released ads in newspapers across the country asking the government to “Let ‘Em Fly.” Flight Centre’s global managing director told Travel Weekly that the company will “keep advocating what what we believe is right for the Australian outbound travel industry and hopefully common sense prevails.”

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