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Qatar Airways Welcomes the Australian Government’s Decision to Increase International Arrivals

September 21, 2020 Aviation No Comments Email Email

Qatar Airways welcomes the Australian Government’s decision to increase the current caps on international arrivals into the country.

The announcement that there are plans to allow an additional 2,000 Australians per week to return home will enable the airline to further support repatriation efforts.

Qatar Airways has been in regular communication with the Australian Government and the travel agencies community since the onset of the pandemic to provide, in addition to nine (09) repatriation charters operated to/from Australia, extra capacity to help bring Australians home. The airline has remained committed to supporting the repatriation of Australian residents whilst also complying with the passenger cap restrictions. Qatar Airways appreciates Australian authorities for approving ad hoc extra capacity above the cap for compassionate, humanitarian and essential workers cases.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are pleased to see the announcement by the Australian Government that it will increase the cap on international arrivals to Australia allowing more Australians to be reunited with their families and loved ones. Qatar Airways has always maintained a long-term commitment to Australia and our support to Australian passengers has not waivered despite the challenges of COVID-19.  We have been flying continuously during the pandemic, without any interruption to our service to Australia, and we are here to further serve our customers with our modern and efficient fleet.”

“Since April, we have been the leading airline carrying international traffic to and from Australia. While other airlines grounded operations, we kept flying, carrying almost 45% of international passengers in April and 34% in May, helping carry over 180,000 Australians and international travellers home. Despite this, there are still over 20,000 Australians stranded overseas, so we will continue to work with the Australian Government and remain ready to operate as many flights as possible to bring them home.”

Due to the cap on international passengers, travelling to Australian destinations, based on limitations of quarantine facilities, currently Qatar Airways can carry a limited number of passengers per day to all of its Australia destinations, resulting in thousands of Australian citizens and residents being unable to be accommodated on flights. Despite the challenges, Qatar Airways is operating a robust Australian network to five cities, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne (currently no inbound passengers permitted), Perth and Sydney to facilitate ongoing repatriation and is currently operating more flights than any other international airline.

Qatar Airways has been restricted to twenty-one weekly frequencies to the main gateways since 2016 despite other airlines from the region enjoying up to four times that number of frequencies. While these airlines suspended services, leaving Australians stranded around the world, Qatar Airways temporarily added an extra 48,000 seats in April and May to help stranded passengers get home along with launching new services to Brisbane.

Qatar Airways also recently resumed flights to Adelaide, becoming the first international airline since the onset of the pandemic to serve five Australian cities. The airline has worked with the South Australian government to implement the Adelaide route in an effort to provide additional opportunities for people to get back to Australia, and to further support repatriation efforts.

These flights have also helped maintain vital supply chains for Australian businesses with Qatar Airways carrying just over 15,000 tonnes of Australian goods since 1 March 2020. The continued operation of these flights is vital to the Australian economy as they maintain a much-needed link to the world and facilitate international exports.

Qatar Airways’ onboard safety measures for passengers and cabin crew include the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for cabin crew and a complimentary protective kit and disposable face shields for passengers. Business Class passengers on aircraft equipped with Qsuite can enjoy the enhanced privacy this award-winning business seat provides, including sliding privacy partitions and the option to use a ‘Do Not Disturb (DND)’ indicator. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 30 destinations including Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur, London and New York. For full details of all the measures that have been implemented onboard and in Hamad International Airport in Doha, the Qatar Airways hub and home, awarded the best Airport in Middle East for the past six years, please visit qatarairways.com/safety.

Qatar Airways operations are not dependent on any specific aircraft type. The airline’s variety of modern fuel-efficient aircraft has meant it can continue flying by offering the right capacity in each market. Due to COVID-19’s impact on travel demand, the airline has taken the decision to ground its fleet of Airbus A380s as it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market. The airline’s fleet of 49 Airbus A350 and 30 Boeing 787 are the ideal choice for the most strategically important long-haul routes to Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions and enable Qatar Airways to offer a more dense worldwide network than any other global connector.

While Qatar Airways has remained focused on its fundamental mission of taking people home and transporting essential aid to impacted regions, the airline has not forgotten its environmental responsibilities. The airline’s internal benchmark compared the A380 to the A350 on routes from Doha to London, Guangzhou, Frankfurt, Paris, Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto and New York. On a typical one-way flight, the airline found the A350 aircraft saved a minimum of 16 tonnes of carbon dioxide per block hour compared to the A380. The analysis found that the A380 emitted over 80% more CO2 per block hour than the A350 on each of these routes. In the cases of Melbourne, New York and Toronto the A380 emitted 95% more CO2 per block hour with the A350 saving around 20 tonnes of CO2 per block hour. Until passenger demand recovers to appropriate levels, Qatar Airways will continue to keep its A380 aircraft grounded, ensuring it only operates commercially and environmentally responsible aircraft.

Qatar Airways’ home and hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA), has implemented stringent cleaning procedures and applied social distancing measures throughout its terminals. Passenger touchpoints are sanitized every 10-15 minutes and boarding gates and bus gate counters are cleaned after each flight. In addition, hand sanitizers are provided at immigration and security screening points. HIA was recently ranked “Third Best Airport in the World”, among 550 airports worldwide, by the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2020. HIA was also voted the ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ for the sixth year in a row and ‘Best Staff Service in the Middle East’ for the fifth year in a row.

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