Outgoing Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has backed a decision to reject the appeal by Qatar Airways to grow their Australian operations.
Thanks to Alan Joyce sitting in front of the Senate for the cost of living committee, developments have emerged, including his assurance that flying should be affordable.
Qatar Airways had previously wanted to expand its flights to Australia, equating to 21 services per week extra into cities along the East Coast of Australia. This includes Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. It could’ve added up to $800 million in tourism revenue if granted. However, it was denied the opportunity to do so.
Public reaction following the rejection pointed at the over-protection of Australian flag carrier Qantas and how allowing Qatar Airways to expand could’ve aided prices and provided a more competitive landscape for travellers.
However, Alan Joyce says that the rejection was in the best interests of Australia and protecting the country is of the utmost importance.
The outgoing CEO further said that if Qatar Airways wanted additional capacity, they could send larger aircraft to cities across the country, adding seats.
Interestingly, Alan Joyce believes adding more Qatar Airways flights wouldn’t have impacted airfares, contrary to what was thought. He believes that airfares will naturally come down at some point anyway, but doing so in the proper manner is of paramount importance.
Another consideration is the Qatar Airways expansion into Australia would’ve offered travellers more options for destinations. Alan Joyce noted that capacity would always return and, with it, the possibility to travel to all corners of the globe, whether Qatar Airways was present or not.
Qatar Airways currently offers multiple daily flights into major ports around Australia. It is viewed by many as the perfect airline, with its ideal Doha-based hub geographically positioned in nature to allow those in the Oceania region to access locations in Europe, Africa and more.
Per Cirium for July 2023, Qatar Airways offered 124 flights between Doha and Melbourne, a 100% increase year on year. Meanwhile, there are 62 flights for Doha and Brisbane, 62 for Doha and Perth and 61 for Doha and Sydney. It also operates triangular routes onwards to New Zealand through Adelaide.
Criticism has been equally present for Qantas’ lack lustre international network, which has struggled to meet the demands outlined by Australians. The most recent order announcement for Boeing 787s and Airbus A350s will aid future expansion plans. However, with deliveries continuing into the 2030s, this isn’t an immediate fix.
Alan Joyce also noted that competition is welcomed, but it must be fair on all grounds and be in the best interest of protecting Australia.