Qatar Airways confirms Canberra launch in February 2018

Qatar Airways' Boeing 777-300ER on its inaugural flight to Sydney in March 2016. (Seth Jaworski)
Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-300ER on its inaugural flight to Sydney in March 2016. (Seth Jaworski)

Qatar Airways has confirmed a February 2018 launch for its flights between Doha and Canberra, via Sydney.

The Australian capital will be the oneworld alliance member’s fifth Australian destination alongside Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

“It is Qatar Airways’ intention to introduce our award-winning service and product to Canberra,” Qatar Airways said in a statement to Australian Aviation on Monday.

“Subject to final regulatory approvals, we plan to operate daily flights linking Doha and Canberra via Sydney, from 12 February 2018 onwards.

“We will share more information with you in due course.”

Qatar Airways filed schedules for the start of Doha-Sydney-Canberra flights over the weekend, as initially reported by the Airline Route website.

The Qatar Airways website shows the airline would deploy the Boeing 777-300ER for the new service, with QR906 to operate as a morning departure from Doha arriving in Sydney just after 0600 the next day. After a little over an hour on the ground, the flight will continue on to Canberra, arriving at 0825.

Meanwhile, the reciprocal QR907 is scheduled to take off from Canberra at 1345, arriving in Sydney an hour later. Following a 60-minute transit, the service will depart for Doha just before 1600, arriving in Doha in the late evening.

A screenshot of the Qatar Airways website showing the Doha-Sydney-Canberra flight schedules. (Qatar Airways)
A screenshot of the Qatar Airways website showing the Doha-Sydney-Canberra flight schedules. (Qatar Airways)

Currently, Qatar Airways operates a daily Airbus A380 flight to Sydney, which arrives in the early evening and returns to Doha a couple of hours later.

Under the current bilateral air service agreement, Qatari flag carriers are allowed to operate 21 return flights a week to any of the four major Australian gateways of Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Adelaide is not included in the cap.

And Qatar has utilised all available capacity with its daily flights to Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

In addition, the register of available capacity on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website shows Qatari carriers are allowed to operate seven return flights a week between Qatar and Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth “provided such services operated via or beyond to a point in Australia” other than the four major international gateways.

It is this second provision that has given the airline the room under the bilateral to commence a second daily service to Sydney as it extends on to Canberra.

The Doha-Sydney-Canberra routing means Singapore Airlines will remain the only carrier offering non-stop international services from Canberra, having commenced its Singapore-Canberra-Wellington “Capital Express” offering in September 2016.

Comments

  1. Richard says

    surely a triangular route would be better ie. DOHA/SYD/CBR/DOHA some days & DOHA/CBR/SYD/DOHA other days ?

  2. Oskar clare says

    Smart airline. Using Canberra to get a 2nd daily flight to Sydney. Will any passengers actually fly to Canberra from Sydney???

  3. David says

    By operating a flight beyond one of the four major ports, this opens the doors to any other foreign airline to do the same, surely? If all international airlines take advantage of this lurk, saturation will be reached. While it may be legal, it isn’t ethical, and provides unfair advantages to foreign airlines.

  4. Jasonp says

    I wonder where they’ll park the aircraft for the 5 hours it is on the ground at CBR…not leave it at a gate surely?

  5. Ben says

    Who left that loophole open? So basically they’ll operate the aircraft to CBR and back empty to secure the second flight!?

    Can’t see much demand for CBR-DOH… just the closest available port that they could go to which enables a another SYD service.

    They should make it DOH-CBR-SYD-DOH, that at least gives the impression they aren’t taking advantage of the system. @Richard, they wouldn’t be able to operate CBR-DOH, it’d be too limiting trying to get a 77W out of there for a 16-18hr sector. @David, they can’t sell domestic only tickets, that’s cabotage, tickets will have to be to/from DOH.

  6. australianaviation.com.au says

    Hi Craig,
    Apologies for the error. the story has been corrected to QR907.

  7. Nick says

    I think this is good, I’m glad Qatar is allowing services from Canberra to Doha. Who cares that they are going VIA Sydney. There not gonna make profit on the Sydney to Canberra leg. The whole point of the cap on the big 4 airports is to allow more services into regional centers, I personally would rather boarding the Qatar airways flight from Canberra even if it’s via Sydney, beats having to transfer in Sydney or taking qantas or virgin

  8. Arkair says

    Noticed on screenshot of airline’s website above it says flight is non-stop both ways! No mention of stopping in Sydney.
    Passengers booking via website particularly from Europe and middle east maybe in for a big surprise!

  9. Warren says

    With a 70 minute “technical stop” in Sydney, it offers travellers to Europe, a relatively seamless experience. One will not have to navigate between domestic and international terminals in Sydney. I can see this being a plus. It will be great to have a bit more colour, travelling through Canberra, Qatar has a nice livery. Hopefully the service doesn’t destroy the Singapore Airlines option, which really needs to increase in frequency. The market ex Canberra is still relatively small. Singapore Airlines, may want to look at their newly optimised schedule again. Arriving in Singapore, ex Canberra, at 04:35 does lead to a rather long wait until the next flight. Best of luck to all.

  10. Craigy says

    This is just an exercise in increasing Qatar flights to Sydney. Canberra is close enough to not increase costs too much. There is also probably savings in the aircraft remaining on the ground in Canberra. What’s next? Doha – Brisbane – GC or Sunshine Coast. A policy to try and encourage airlines to think beyond the four major airports is being abused by this Qatar initiative. Singapore’s route is honest, Qatar’s is an abuse.