As other airlines withdraw services, Qatar Airways is temporarily increasing flights to Australia from today. As well as launching additional frequencies to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, Qatar Airways has launched a new route between Brisbane and Doha. The additional flights will run during April 2020.
But at the same time, Qatar Airways’ flights from Doha to Adelaide and Canberra have been temporarily suspended.
The new daily flights from Brisbane to Doha will run until the end of April and will be operated by Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with Qsuites in Business class. Here is the schedule:
- QR913 Brisbane 21:20 – Doha 05:20 (+1 day)
- QR912 Doha 20:00 – Brisbane 17:20 (+1 day)
Despite the current travel bans, some people still need to travel. Qatar Airways is also taking advantage of freight demand, and the current demand from the many tens of thousands of travellers that are currently stuck all over the world and are trying to return home. This includes Australians stranded overseas, as well as people of other nationalities that are still stuck in Australia. Many of these people have already tried to leave, but their flights with other airlines were cancelled at short notice.
For those stuck overseas, there are now very few options to get home. Emirates and Etihad Airways both suspended flights last week after the United Arab Emirates government banned transit passengers. Other popular transit hubs such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Taipei have also closed.
Although foreign nationals are not currently permitted to enter Qatar, the Qatari government (which owns Qatar Airways) is still allowing passengers to transit through Doha’s Hamad International Airport. By continuing to fly, Qatar Airways now has a near-monopoly on routes that are usually ultra-competitive. This is reflected in current airfares, which are not particularly cheap. The airline also does not appear to be releasing any award availability at the moment.
If you do wish to book a flight with Qatar Airways over the coming weeks, you can get a 10% discount off the base fare by booking on the Qatar Airways website and using the promo code TRAVELHOME. This promo code is valid for bookings and travel until 15 April 2020.
Although Qatar Airways has come under fire for its refund policy in recent weeks, it appears to have now relaxed this. Under the new, more flexible policy, Qatar Airways customers can now change their travel dates for free or cancel for a voucher with 10% additional value, for travel until 30 September 2020. Passengers are also entitled to a full refund if their flight is cancelled. (See the full policy on the Qatar Airways website.)
Under the Air Services Agreement between Australia and Qatar, Qatari airlines are not normally allowed to operate more than 21 flights per week to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. Qatar Airways has made no secret of its ambitions to add more flights to Australia, and has already added flights to both Adelaide and Canberra (via Sydney) as those airports are not restricted.
But because Qatar Airways already has daily flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, it has not been allowed to also fly to Brisbane… until now. The Australian government has temporarily relaxed the rules so that Qatar Airways can add flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane during this unusual period.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qatar in Brisbane