One of the few airlines still connecting Australia with the Middle East and Europe is about to expand its offering of routes to Brisbane on 20 May.
Qatar Airways will be recommencing three weekly flights from Doha to Brisbane, adding to existing daily services with Sydney and Melbourne as well as four-weekly flights to Perth.
The first flight is set to land at Brisbane Airport (BNE) on 21 May, with services operating under existing bilateral rights until 30 June with the airline carrying both commercial passengers and freight.
Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) expects this will provide a critical cargo channel for Australian businesses and producers.
"This announcement is most welcome and the first major sign the industry has commenced recovery phase following COVID-19 restrictions," says BAC CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff.
"Until now, Brisbane was the only major capital city without a Qatar Airways service and Queensland the only major state.
"The demand for Qatar Airways services has always been clear, with Queensland generating more than 19,000 passengers to Doha alone in 2019."
De Graaff says as the world begins to heal, one-stop services into Queensland from key British and European travel markets also offer a real opportunity for Queensland, with visitors arriving in Australia via Brisbane more likely to stay longer in the state.
"While the direct service will bring more choice for passengers, the air access and export opportunities created by the commencement of Qatar services direct to and from Brisbane for the city and state are significant," the executive says.
"These services will provide much needed support Queensland and northern NSW exporters in exporting around 4,000 tonnes of beef and other perishables per annum to Qatar.
"Freight exports that none of the existing airline partners carry, and of course there is significant opportunity for additional exports across Qatar Airway's global network."
The airline is resuming services after previously receiving short-term approval to operate to Brisbane from late-March to early April - a period during which helped reunite over 5,000 stranded travellers with their loved ones and transported over 270 tonnes of cargo, including Australian agriculture exports.
"In these difficult times, customers are looking for an airline they can trust, our commitment and willingness to get people home continues to provide assurance," says Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker.
"We have built a strong level of confidence with passengers, governments, trade partners, and airports as a reliable partner during this crisis and we intend to continue delivering on this mission.
"Qatar Airways received exceptional approval to operate short term services to Brisbane to repatriate the many tourists, students and diplomats who wanted to go back to their home countries."
The airline continues to operate flights to 16 destinations in Europe, including London, Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam, with plans to add an additional seven European destinations by the end of June.
Updated at 9:50am AEST on 15 May 2020.
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