Following outgoing Qantas CEO Alan Joyce’s comments regarding the backing of a decision to reject Qatar Airways more flights into Australia cities, Virgin Australia has had their say.
Jayne Hrdlicka, the Virgin Australia CEO, commented in favour of Qatar Airways’ bid to expand, noting that more flights into Australia would lower fares while also helping increase tourism.
If granted, Qatar Airways’ expansion could result in $800 million+ in additional tourism revenue. However, regarding lowering airfares, this was a claim rejected by the flag carrier Qantas, who believe airfares will drop regardless.
Speaking with RN Breakfast, Virgin’s CEO outright called Alan Joyce’s comments “nonsense.” A comment that saw Joyce say allowing Qatar Airways to expand would impact the market, which is recovering well.
Virgin Australia believes that if there were to be demand, airlines should be able to add seats where they see such need to benefit travellers.
Virgin Australia is a partner of Qatar Airways. However, their frustration over the Qantas and Emirates flight coordination continuing is more than present. Qantas and Emirates’ partnerships have long created a stronghold in international flights to Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Qatar wants to shake that up but isn’t being allowed.
Public reaction has called for a move to block Qatar Airways from expanding, not protecting national interest but instead trying to fend off competition for Qantas to have an easy path.
However, Qantas rejects these claims naturally and says that it’s in the country’s best interest for QR to see their bid to expand rejected.