Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight to Sydney touched down amid fanfare at the airport, continuing well into the night with a gala dinner featuring a performance by Aussie popstar Kylie Minogue.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Tonight has been the perfect start to our new partnership with Sydney. We are very excited to be here as Sydney has long been a desired addition to our route map; our passengers have consistently requested more access to Australia and we are very happy to deliver. I am very proud that Qatar Airways is able to create more opportunities for Australians to see the world.”
“We are delighted to be able to offer passengers flying from Sydney the opportunity to connect to more than 150 places on our global network via our state-of-the-art airport in Doha.”
The launch of the new flights were also welcomed by Sydney Airport and various officials, given the anticipated economic boost to the State. Sydney is the airline’s third gateway in Australia and is expected to bring an additional AUD$240 million to the local economy each year.
“Qatar Airways is a three-time Skytrax Airline of the Year winner and will provide passengers with more choice, a quality product and seamless connectivity through Doha’s new Hamad International Airport to destinations around the world,” Sydney Airport Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kerrie Mather said.
“Qatar Airways’ new daily service will boost tourism, providing an additional 245,000 seats per year, generating an estimated 3,000 jobs and contributing more than $240 million to the Australian economy.
“It will also foster trade, providing greater air cargo capacity and access to the Middle East. Australian exports to Doha grew by 23 per cent last year, and the State of Qatar’s high demand for livestock, cereal, meat, dairy products and crops provides a significant opportunity for Australian exporters.”
The daily Doha-Sydney service will be operated on a 335-seat Boeing 777 aircraft, featuring an inflight entertainment system with more than 3,000 entertainment options on individual screens in all classes. Business Class, passengers will experience fully flat beds and an on-demand à la carte menu service allowing them to order anything from the menu at any time during the flight.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the new service would provide a “valuable increase in aviation capacity from the Middle East and greater connectivity to Sydney and Regional NSW, particularly for travellers flying from the United Kingdom and Europe via Doha”.
“Our State is Australia’s home of international travel and the NSW Government is committed to working with the aviation industry to increase air travel to Sydney via airline partnership agreements.”
Tourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan also welcomed the airline’s arrival.
“In recent years, we’ve seen the Middle East become an important aviation hub for international travellers wishing to fly on to Australia from some of our most important European markets, including the UK,” Mr. O’Sullivan said.
Other special guests included actor Richard Roxburgh and his wife Silvia Colloca; Olympic swimming champion, Ian Thorpe; host of Australia’s Next Top Model, Jennifer Hawkins; Celebrity Chef, George Calombaris; and British Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh. Other VIPs included The Hon. Stuart Ayres, NSW State Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events; Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Chipchase; Kerrie Mather, Sydney Airport Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer; and His Excellency Mr. Arthur Spyrou, Australian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Flight schedule (all times local)
Depart Doha at 20:10, arrive Sydney at 18:05 (next day)
Depart Sydney at 22:20, arrive Doha at 05:05 (next day)