Qatar Airways seeks more frequencies for Australia services

    Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said Qatar‘s Government will continue to lobby Australia‘s Government to secure additional frequencies for the airline under the countries’ air services agreement (Canberra Times, 13-Feb-2018). The airline operates 35 times weekly to Australia, serving Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, according to OAG. Mr Al Baker said the airline is unable to operate nonstop Doha-Canberra service due to the length of the runway at Canberra Airport. He explained: “Unfortunately the runway is not long enough to fly here [Canberra] direct, though we may be able to land here direct, we will not be able to take off direct to go from Doha to here because when you are going for such an utter long haul flight, the aircraft is very heavy so it would need a minimum of 4300 metre long runway for us to be able to fly from here direct from any destination”. Canberra Airport MD Stephen Byron noted the airport’s master plan includes the possibility of extending the runway by 600m to 3883m and said runway length is “something we can address with our masterplan over time”.