“There’s only one beneficiary from the decision and that’s Qantas”: AAA CEO skewers Qatar blocking

“There’s only one beneficiary from the decision and that’s Qantas”: AAA CEO skewers Qatar blocking

The Government’s unpopular decision to block an application from Qatar Airways to double its flights to Australia has enraged the travel industry and arose questions about Qantas’ interference with the Government.

The transport minister Catherine King sought out Qantas’ opinion as part of Qatar Airways’ application process for bilateral air rights, but Qantas opposed the bid saying it would cause Australian job losses.

Among those who disagree with the decision is the CEO of the Australian Airports Association (AAA) James Goodwin who told Travel Weekly that the government should be welcoming international carriers as Aussies struggle with airfares 50 per cent higher than they were prior to the pandemic.

“Regardless of who’s coming in, on which carrier they’re coming in on… the government should be doing everything they can to try and encourage more seats to be to be available for international tourists to come into Australia and for Australians to be able to go and connect with friends and relatives overseas,” Goodwin said.

The introduction of more carriers into the Australian aviation market would not only put pressure on airfares, but it more capacity would enable more jobs at the airport and within the further tourism and hospitality sector, Goodwin argues. The AAA boss said the blocking decision is not in the interest of the wider travel industry.

“What’s become apparent over the past few days is this appears that it has been a decision made by one minister taking into account a very narrow point of view,” Goodwin said.

“It’s quite clear that there is only one beneficiary out of the decision, and that’s Qantas. There are many more parts of the aviation and tourism sectors that would benefit from having more flights available.”

Qantas Group’s outgoing CEO Alan Joyce faced the music yesterday when a senate inquiry grilled himself, Jetstar CEO Stephanie Tully and the group executive, corporate affairs Andrew McGuiness for an hour and a half.

The rigorous inquiry by a select senate committee 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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