Qatar Airways is about to plug a hole in its Australian network – temporarily at least. Brisbane will get a daily Boeing 777-300ER service from the end of March until mid-April. It will be the first time Qatar Airways has flown to Brisbane. The new flights come when Qatar Airways is carving out an interesting niche for itself – maintaining flights while other airlines abandon them.
Temporary Qatar Airways services to Brisbane
The temporary service to Brisbane will begin on 29 March. Flight QR912 will depart Doha daily at 20:00 and arrive in Brisbane at 17:20 the following day. The return flight, QR913, will push back from Brisbane at 21:20 and arrive in Doha at 05:20 the following morning. The flights to Brisbane will operate daily until mid-April.
A bilateral air services agreement between Australia and Qatar has long restricted the airline to just 28 weekly flights across the four key Australian airports – Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Brisbane. To date, Qatar Airways has skipped flying into Brisbane.
Australian Government loosens bi-lateral air services agreement rules
In these straitened times, the Australian Government has loosened those rules to keep essential travel flowing. While other airlines are busy shutting down services, Qatar Airways is providing a valuable service and still flying – for the time being at least.
In a statement, Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said;
“We continue to operate around 150 daily flights to more than 70 cities worldwide. Sometimes governments put in place restrictions that mean we simply cannot fly to a country. We are working closely with governments around the world, and wherever possible we will reinstate or add more flights.
“We know there are many people who want to be with their families and loved ones during this difficult time. We are thankful to the Australian Government, Airports and staff for their support in helping us to add additional flights to get people home, and in particular, to bring flights to Brisbane.”
Services maintained or boosted to Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth
Besides the extra flight to Brisbane; Perth, Melbourne and Sydney are keeping their flights. Both Melbourne and Perth are scoring extra services until mid-April. Melbourne is losing its A380 service but picking up both a Boeing 777-300ER and A350-1000 service.
Sydney is keeping its three daily services, albeit without the usual A380 services. Like Melbourne, Sydney will get a mix of Boeing 777-300ER and A350-1000 aircraft. The daily A350-1000 tag flight to Canberra is not currently operating.
Perth picks up an extra service and is going double daily with an A380 and Boeing 777-300ER operating the services.
Qatar is reporting a high demand for its flights, particularly from UK and Ireland based ex-pats. Perth is one of the only three cities in the world (the other two being London and Frankfurt) hosting Qatar A380 flights.
Adelaide is the biggest loser here, having temporarily lost its daily A350-1000 service to Doha.
Qatar and Qatar Airways bucking the global trend
While Qatar is only allowing entry to its citizens (who will go into quarantine for 14 days), it is bucking the trend and allowing foreign nationals to transit through Doha’s Hamad International Airport. This is allowing Qatar Airways to keep flying.
While governments everywhere are discouraging travel, there remains a need for urgent/essential travel. Additionally, folks remain stranded all over the globe, and some airline services need to keep operating. For the time being at least, Qatar Airways is fast becoming the go-to airline for people needing to get home.