CATO calls for Government to review Qatar Airways blocking

Sydney Australia March 15, 2016, Boeing 777 wearing QATAR Airlines colour scheme, arriving late afternoon at Kingsford Smith airport, with the city Skyline in the background.

The Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) is calling for an urgent review of the Government’s decision to block Qatar Airways request for additional flights into Australia.

CATO is also seeking greater transparency into these decisions going forward.

The organisation said that the lack of transparency around the reasons for the rejection of Qatar Airways’ request has led to unnecessary speculation and stresses which hinder effective planning and could ultimately lead to hesitation from other airlines looking to launch flights to Australia.

CATO members operating both domestically and internationally are seeing their recovery hampered by high fares and limited flights which are deterring passengers from booking travel to and from Australia.

Additional air capacity into Australia will provide immediate relief from high fares, boost the economy and create more jobs.

“Affordable airfares are vital for the recovery of the entire travel and tourism industry and the broader Australian visitor economy. We therefore request that the government urgently review this decision and we seek greater clarity on how these decisions are made. “ said Brett Jardine, managing director CATO.

Alongside CATO’s call is former Deputy Prime Minister and Labor Party National President Wayne Swan who has echoed the call made by the organisation.

“These things are negotiated, government-to-government from time to time,” he told Nine’s Today show. “An appropriate review where things are, given all these revelations, would be good.”

The decision was brought up at Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce’s senate inquiry that he faced on Monday. Joyce, alongside Jetstar CEO Stephanie Tully and the group executive, corporate affairs Andrew McGuiness, were grilled for an hour and a half by a select senate committee.

The rigorous inquiry saw Joyce on the back foot against allegations of corporate greed, interfering with government affairs and poor conduct during the pandemic.

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