Qatar Airways and additional flight rights: Akbar Al Baker finds Australia’s decision “unfair”

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The general director of Qatar Airways finally spoke on CNN about the controversial decision of the Australian government to refuse the airline additional flight rights to Australia’s four largest international gateways, qualifying it as“unfair” and of “surprising”.

Speaking to CNN’s Richard Quest, Akbar Al Baker chose his words carefully, saying he was unable to comment much on the situation because parliamentary inquiry is currently in progress. Al Baker, however, confirmed what many had long suspected: the airline expected the additional flying rights to be granted quickly, in recognition of the fact that Qatar Airways continued to serve Australia throughout the pandemic of Codid-19while other airlines, including Qantas, had abandoned the market.

The Gulf airline is currently authorized to operate 28 flights weekly between its Doha hub and Australia’s four largest cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. She was looking to operate 21 additional flights per week to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne under a bid launched last year and ultimately rejected by the government last month.

He added that the airline had served Australians throughout the pandemic ; including organizing repatriation flights in and out of the country, sending medical supplies and maintaining a full flight schedule. “We found it very unfair that our legitimate request was not granted, particularly at a time when we were so supportive of Australia (in) repatriating stranded citizens from around the world into and out of Australia, helping them receive medical supplies and spare parts etc. “, said Mr. Al Baker. And to insist: “During the COVID period, when the national carrier and its partners completely ceased operations (in) Australia, we were there for the Australian people. Flying with Qatar Airways had become one of the only ways to reach Australia for many Australians stranded overseas, and Qatar Airways secretly hoped that this show of solidarity would be rewarded with additional flying rights in the lucrative market. Australian.

Conservative opposition accused Labor of suppressing competition to protect national airline Qantas and launched a Senate investigation into the decision. “I still hope that the government will listen to our case very carefully and then make a decision. You know, we can never influence a government decision, but the fact remains that we were very surprised to see these rights blocked or not approved, I can say that.”Al Baker told CNN.

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