Qatar Airways has announced more international flights from Melbourne to boost Victoria’s aviation industry in a timely manner.
The airline has committed to a second daily Doha-to-Melbourne service from October, creating more than 900 jobs in aviation and tourism, the state government says.
Tullamarine will be the only Australian airport to which the airline flies twice a day. Andrews government says it will provide 250,000 seats to Victorians each year and generate $82 million in economic activity.
The Boeing 777 aircraft also offers a lot of air cargo space, giving Victorian exporters the prospect of better access to Europe and the Middle East.
The announcement comes as a well-timed boost to the airline industry, which has come under fire for lost luggage, canceled flights and poor customer service as airlines struggle to cope with the peak season of winter due to staff shortages.
Speaking on the tarmac of Melbourne airport — intermittently roaring planes taking off into the sky — Industry Support and Recovery Minister Ben Carroll said the upgrade would give Victorians greater access to one of the richest economies in the world.
“More international flights means more jobs for Victorians,” he said, keeping his wavy hair intact as the tarmac wind threatened to blow it out of shape.
“We know Doha, Qatar is one of the richest economies in the world.
“But more than that, two daily flights is equivalent to 250,000 seats coming into Victoria each year.
“We are building momentum. (It) follows similar announcements with Etihad and other major international airlines looking to bring more tourism and more dollars here to Victoria.
Tourism, Sports and Major Events Minister Steve Dimopoulos, who recently took over the portfolios when Martin Pakula retired, described Qatar’s announcement as a boost to Victoria’s Covid rebound.
“Part of that success is our large event calendar. We have the best of the best. Our visitor economy has recovered,” he said.
The member for Oakleigh added that it was an important announcement for Greek-Australians because of the easier offer of direct flights in Qatar.
“There are a large number of Greek Australians and Greeks from Greece who prefer Qatar for direct flights both to cities in Greece and to Australia,” he said.