Qatar Airways launches Brisbane route as others pull out
At a time when most airlines are cancelling flights around the world, Qatar Airways announced a new Australian route to the Queensland capital of Brisbane. The new route will be flown daily by the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER. However, the route will only be temporary at this stage running from the end of March to mid-April 2020, with the first flight touching down at Brisbane Airport on Monday 30th March 2020.
The new daily flights are scheduled to depart Doha’s Hamad International Airport at 20:00 as Qatar Airways flight QR912, arriving in Brisbane, Australia the following afternoon at 17:20. The return flight, QR913, is scheduled to depart Brisbane at 21:20 and arrive back in Doha, Qatar the next day at 05:20 in the morning.
The new service comes as a welcome change for Brisbane Airport which like other airports, has been severely affected by the 2020 COVID-19 crisis and has been stripped of almost all its international flights due to lack of demand. However, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker stated that “the airline was thankful to Brisbane Airport Corporation and the Australian Government for allowing Qatar Airways to get people home, and in particular, to bring new flights to Brisbane, something that was not previously possible.”
Despite the carrier’s efforts to expand its route network, it is not immune to the financial struggles brought on by worldwide travel restrictions with CEO Al Baker warning today that the airline could soon run out of cash. He stated that the airline only had enough cash reserves to get them through a very short period of time during the crisis and would soon be asking the its owner, the Government of Qatar, for a cash bailout.