Evidence presented to a parliamentary enquiry indicates that reduced airfares and a $1 billion increase in tourism would have resulted from allowing Qatar Airways to operate additional flights into Australia.
Airline Intelligence and Research CEO Tony Webber claimed that providing more services to Qatar Airways would have had “positive effects.”
On Tuesday, he told a Senate committee that airfares would be cut “substantially,” or by between 7 and 10 percent.
The previous Qantas Chief Economist estimated that the increase in European visitors would have been worth up to $1 billion.
Webber said that Qantas’ market share was “substantial.”
Webber’s comments came at the same time as Akbar al-Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways, made his first public comments about the Albanese government’s decision to prevent the increase in flights.
On Sunday, he told CNN that he and his family were “very surprised” that their “legitimate request” had been denied and that they felt it was “very unfair”.
During COVID-19, we assisted with repatriating stranded Australian residents worldwide and delivering much-needed medical supplies and spare parts.
All operations of the national airline and its associates in Australia had stopped. We were there for the Australian people.
He hoped the Albanese government would consider Qatar’s contention “carefully” before deciding, as Al-Baker did. He refused to comment further, citing the pending Senate investigation into the government’s decision.
Webber reportedly said the Middle Eastern airline was an “exceptionally aggressive competitor.”
He said, “It will aggressively respond if a new carrier encroaches on its routes and market share.”
Webber added that following the epidemic, major markets like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane were Qatar’s only options for financially viable routes.