The airline says the new 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 says it 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 repatriation charters operated to/from Australia, extra capacity to help bring Australians home.
The airline says it has remained committed to supporting the repatriation of Australian residents whilst also complying with the passenger cap restrictions, and it appreciates Australian authorities for approving ad-hoc extra capacity above the cap for compassionate, humanitarian and essential workers cases.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, 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,” he said.
Due to the cap on international passengers, travelling to Australian destinations, based on limitations of quarantine facilities, currently Qatar Airways says it 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 says it 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 into the country.
Qatar Airways also recently resumed flights to Adelaide, becoming the first international airline since the onset of the pandemic to serve five Australian cities.