Qatar Airways has the scope to increase flights to Australia and potentially add Sydney as a third destination in this country after the Australian and Qatar governments approved an expanded air services agreement.
The new bilateral, effective immediately, allows airlines of Australia or Qatar to operate up to 21 flights a week between Qatar and Australia’s four major international gateways of Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, up from 14 flights a week currently.
While no Australian airline currently offers nonstop service from Australia to Qatar, oneworld alliance member Qatar Airways operates a daily flight to both Melbourne and Perth, which utilised all available capacity under the previous agreement.
Trade Minister Andrew Robb said the increased capacity available would offer Australian exporters more market access to the region and flagged a new Sydney-Doha service from Qatar Airways.
“Airline connectivity plays a vital role in growing Australia’s premium agricultural trade of fresh products like dairy, horticulture and meats,” Robb said in a statement on Thursday.
“Qatar Airways is likely to commence a daily service between Sydney and Doha, which will allow businesses to quickly and efficiently move produce to global markets.
“The Australian Government remains committed to removing barriers to trade and ensuring that we have the aviation capacity necessary to meet future demand.”
News of the capacity expansion for Qatari flag carriers comes on top of recent federal government moves to boost available aviation capacity to Australia with revised air services agreements for the Chinese, Philippine and Chilean markets.
Qatar Airways, which competes with the likes of United Arab Emirates-based Emirates and Etihad Airways in its own backyard for long-haul Australian travellers headed to Europe, Africa and the Middle East via its Doha hub, did not respond to requests for comment.
The airline has said previously the curfew at Sydney Airport did restrict its ability to operate to the NSW capital with a desirable schedule.