Australian Senate calls for review of decision to block Qatar from flying more routes into the country

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Qatar Airways
(PHOTO: Qatar Airways)

SeoulThe Australian government should immediately review its decision to block Qatar Airways from flying additional routes to Australia, a Senate probe into the matter has recommended, according to Australian media reports.

For the past month, a Coalition-led Senate inquiry has been investigating the federal government’s rejection of Qatar Airways’ request to run 28 extra weekly flights to east coast capital city airports. The inquiry’s final report, released on Monday, calls on government to reinstate airfare price monitoring and task the competition watchdog with conducting a fresh investigation into anti-competitive behaviour in the domestic aviation market.

The report additionally recommends the probe be re-established so it can hear evidence from former Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who is in Europe and has not appeared before the Senate committee, over allegations that the he had exercised significant influence over the government’s decision to block increased capacity from the Gulf carrier.

Separately, the report recommends the Senate request that Transport Minister Catherine King be required to attend to provide public evidence and also calls for Qantas’ government affairs representatives to appear before the committee, with the final report noting “that Qantas answers to questions on notice from senators were unsatisfactory”.

The committee additionally calls for the development of new consumer protections to address significant delays, cancellations, lost baggage and devaluation of loyalty programs. A previous review into airport slot hoarding should also be acted upon, it says.

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