Qatar Airways have announced non-stop flights between Doha and Australia’s financial capital, Sydney. The new service will be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with 42 business class seats in a 2 – 2 – 2 configuration at 78″ pitch.
The announcement follows the recent 50% increase in bilateral air traffic rights between Australia and Qatar. Sydney was originally tipped by Miles Down Under to be the front runner for a new Australian destination for Qatar Airways. The move comes despite previous objections by the airline’s CEO, Akbar al Baker.
At present Qatar Airways codeshare with fellow oneworld alliance partner, Cathay Pacific, for flights to Sydney via Hong Kong.
Other destinations joining the Qatar Airways network in 2016 are Boston, Atlanta and Los Angeles, as previously reported by Miles Down Under in May.
The schedule for the new Sydney flight will be:
QR908 DOH 2010 – 1805+1 SYD
QR909 SYD 2220 – 0505+1 DOH
We have previously noted in our reviews that Qatar Airways have an excellent on-board product and lounge in Doha. While this service doesn’t feature Qatar Airways’ flagship reverse herringbone business class seat (as found on its Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft), the Boeing 777 business class seat is still a very comfortable offering.
In 2014, traffic between Australia and the Qatar totalled 367,522 passengers on 1,460 flights – an average seat utilisation of 79.7%. Given that Qatar Airways’ entry into the Australian market has been much later than its other Middle Eastern rivals (Melbourne 2009, Perth 2012), Qatar is already the 13th busiest destination for passengers from Australia.
By comparison, between Emirates, Etihad and Qantas, there were 9,618 flights between Australia and the United Arab Emirates carrying 3,193,907 passengers. That volume dwarfs Qatar Airways’ current and indeed future footprint.
Qatar Airways arrival into Sydney on 1 March 2016 is a welcome development and comes despite Qatar Airways’ dynamic CEO, Akbar al Baker, previously ruling Sydney out of short term expansion plans.
This new flight is a most welcome option for travellers, although most Qatar Airways traffic from Australia only transits in Doha en-route to other destinations.