Australian government refuses to approve an increase to Qatar Airways flights

The Australian government has refused to approve Qatar Airways’s push to increase the number of flights to Australia, claiming that such an increase would go against Australia’s “national interest.”

The Albanese government has defended its decision to reject a request from Qatar to fly an additional 21 services into Australia’s major airports, beyond the 28 flights a week it currently operates under existing bilateral air rights.

The decision comes as international air fares remain far too high as demand for seats is more than supply, and industry leaders have claimed allowing Qatar more capacity would have helped lower air fares.

Qatar Airways has been one of few airlines in a position to operate increased services to Australia.

Transport minister, Catherine King, denied suggestions that her decision to reject the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority’s request was related to ongoing legal action launched by multiple Australian women against Qatar Airways.

Many in the aviation and tourism industries as well as state premiers supported Qatar’s plans to increase services while opponents included Qantas as well as the women behind the legal case.