Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has said that his airline is seeking a codeshare partnership with Qantas at a press conference following the arrival of its first service from Doha to Perth.
Flight QR900, operated by a 259-seat Boeing 777-200LR, touched down at Perth International Airport shortly before 5pm on July 3, and then departed at 11pm on its return to Doha. The airline now flies three times weekly to Perth, and will increase to daily services from December 2, while it also flies daily to Melbourne.
“Qatar Airways remains committed to opening up access to destinations that are largely underserved by international airlines and have great market potential,” said Mr Al Baker. “Perth is an example of this and 2012 will continue to be one of our biggest years of expansion addressing the underserved markets that our strategy has focused on.”
The following day, Mr Al Baker signed an agreement with Tourism WA to launch a $1.2 million destination marketing campaign in Europe and the Middle East.
Responding to a question from Australian Aviation, Mr Al Baker said that the airline was in talks with Qantas to implement a two-way codeshare agreement, which would see the QR code added to some domestic Qantas services, while the QF code would be added to Qatar’s services to Doha.
He also defended embattled Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, telling reporters, “You have a good guy running it, in my opinion.”
Mr Al Baker also said that the airline was no longer looking at flying to Sydney, as was floated when it launched its Melbourne route in 2009. He said that the curfew and the large amounts of capacity were the main reasons why Qatar was no longer looking to fly to Sydney, but added that the airline wanted to codeshare on Qantas services to either Perth or Singapore to connect with ongoing services to Doha.
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