Qantas asks the government not to review Qatar Airways blocking

Qantas asks the government not to review Qatar Airways blocking
Edited by Travel Weekly

    Qantas has warned the government not to review its decision to block additional capacity for Qatar Airways in its submission to the bilateral air rights senate inquiry.

    Qatar’s application for an additional 28 flights per week to four major Australian cities was blocked by the transport minister Catherine King, citing it wasn’t in the national interest.

    King’s controversial decision has drawn the ire of many in the travel industry, including the Australian Airports Association, Virgin Australia, the Council of Australian Tour Operators, the Australian Travel Industry Association and Flight Centre, which has been running an ad campaign calling for the decision to be overturned.

    Qantas, which originally opposed additional capacity for Qatar Airways, said a review of the blocking would “put Australia out of step with other jurisdictions in an environment where reciprocity is critical”.

    “In analogous fields such as trade or taxation, there are no appeal provisions in respect of other government-to-government agreements,” said Qantas’s submission to the senate committee.

    Qantas Chairman Richard Goyder at the senate inquiry (ABC News)

    The Aussie carrier criticised industry claims that additional capacity for Qatar would boost international visitors, saying that most of its passengers are Australian.

    “In terms of inbound tourism, Qatar Airways carries a disproportionately high number of outbound Australian-based passengers,” said the Qantas submission.

    Passenger loads are under 70 per cent on inbound Qatar flights and 87 per cent on outbound flights, according to data from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.

    “On that basis, suggestions that granting the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority application would have materially advanced the Australian tourism industry’s recovery are overstated,” Qantas said.

    Qantas’ lobbying of the government were the subject of intense interrogation during its appearance at the senate inquiry. During the hearing, it was revealed that Qantas opposed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commissions aviation monitoring reports, which ended in the middle of this year.

    The hearing will conclude this week and it will provide a report on 9 October.

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