It was almost ten years ago that Qatar Airways had its first flight to Australia from its hub in Doha. More specifically, the inaugural flight took passengers to Melbourne on December 6th, 2009. To commemorate the 10 years of service in Australia, the MiddleEeast carrier is offering a special inflight menu on all of its Australian routes to Doha from December to January.
A special celebration menu
AirlineRatings reports that the airline will celebrate its historic milestone with a special menu, celebrating Australia’s diverse produce with 100% locally sourced ingredients. Here is just a taste of what you’ll find on the special menu between December and January:
- Lamb from Gippsland, Victoria
- Blue Eye-Cod from Portland, Victoria.
- Yellowfin Tuna from Coral Bay, West Australian
- King Prawns from Queensland
- Fresh berries on a classic Australian Pavlova.
- Shiraz wines from McLaren Vale, South Australia.
10 years of Australian service
According to AirlineRatings, shortly after launching its Melbourne service, the Middle East carrier added service to Perth (July 2010), Sydney (March 2016), Adelaide (May 2016) and most recently Canberra (February 2018).
At its 2016 inaugural flight from Doha to Sydney, the airline celebrated with a delegation of VIPs from Qatar, including Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar al-Baker.
According to the Gulf Times, Al-Baker made the following statement:
“Touching down here in Sydney for the first time is an important milestone for Qatar Airways and for the people of Australia..I would like to personally thank Sydney Airport and the city authorities for welcoming us and look forward to strengthening our relationship with them and the people of Australia in the coming years as we all go places together.”
This service began with a Boeing 777 daily from Doha to Sydney. However, it now operates the Airbus A380 and Airbus A350-1000 an astounding 14 times per week. Most recently at the beginning of this month, Qatar Airways’ A350-1000 had its debut flight on its Doha-Sydney-Canberra route. The service operates seven times per week.
Qatar Airways’ also offers the following services and frequencies:
- Melbourne: 7 flights per week – Currently operating the Airbus A380
- Perth: 7 flights per week – Currently operating the Airbus A380
- Adelaide: 7 flights per week – Currently operating the Airbus A350-900
The Adelaide controversy
As mentioned above, Qatar Airways began service to Adelaide in 2016. In fact, flights were operated by the Airbus A350 – the first to serve the country. However, amidst the celebration, some controversial comments were made by some VIPs as Qantas had stopped international direct flights from Adelaide in May 2013. This forced Adelaide travelers flying Qantas to fly domestic to a larger hub before going international.
According to Adelaide Now, South Australia’s Tourism Minister at the time, Leon Bignell made the following remarks:
“Don’t go Qantas if you have to get to eastern states to get out of Australia…We have airlines here that do the right thing and fly in and out of Adelaide. That’s very important for us not just in tourism and also for trade…Stick with SA airlines that support us and fly direct out of Adelaide. Support them and maybe that will send a message to Qantas.”
Qantas expressed disappointment at Mr Bignell’s comments and had the following response:
“No airline operates more flights in-and-out of Adelaide than Qantas. We invest millions every year in marketing South Australia as a destination. We buy huge volumes of South Australian produce that we serve in our lounges and on our aircraft. And we’re one of the biggest employers in the state. It’s amazing how one flight from another carrier cancels all that out for Mr Bignell. It’s true that we don’t directly operate international flights through Adelaide, simply because it’s not commercially viable for us. -Andrew Parker, Qantas’ government affairs group executive
With so many airlines finding themselves in financial trouble – especially in recent years – 10 years of service to Australia is something to be incredibly proud of. This is especially true with the amount of premium competition the airline faces with Emirates and Singapore Airlines.
If you happen to be on a Qatar Airways flight out of Australia next week (through to January) please let us know your thoughts on the special celebration menu!
We reached out to Qatar Airways for comment but did not receive a response before publishing this article.