Qatar Airways confirms Canberra launch in February 2018

Qatar Airways' Boeing 777-300ER on its inaugural flight to Sydney in March 2016. (Seth Jaworski)
Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-300ER on its inaugural flight to Sydney in March 2016. (Seth Jaworski)

Qatar Airways has confirmed a February 2018 launch for its flights between Doha and Canberra, via Sydney.

The Australian capital will be the oneworld alliance member’s fifth Australian destination alongside Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

“It is Qatar Airways’ intention to introduce our award-winning service and product to Canberra,” Qatar Airways said in a statement to Australian Aviation on Monday.

“Subject to final regulatory approvals, we plan to operate daily flights linking Doha and Canberra via Sydney, from 12 February 2018 onwards.

“We will share more information with you in due course.”

Qatar Airways filed schedules for the start of Doha-Sydney-Canberra flights over the weekend, as initially reported by the Airline Route website.

The Qatar Airways website shows the airline would deploy the Boeing 777-300ER for the new service, with QR906 to operate as a morning departure from Doha arriving in Sydney just after 0600 the next day. After a little over an hour on the ground, the flight will continue on to Canberra, arriving at 0825.

Meanwhile, the reciprocal QR907 is scheduled to take off from Canberra at 1345, arriving in Sydney an hour later. Following a 60-minute transit, the service will depart for Doha just before 1600, arriving in Doha in the late evening.

A screenshot of the Qatar Airways website showing the Doha-Sydney-Canberra flight schedules. (Qatar Airways)
A screenshot of the Qatar Airways website showing the Doha-Sydney-Canberra flight schedules. (Qatar Airways)

Currently, Qatar Airways operates a daily Airbus A380 flight to Sydney, which arrives in the early evening and returns to Doha a couple of hours later.

Under the current bilateral air service agreement, Qatari flag carriers are allowed to operate 21 return flights a week to any of the four major Australian gateways of Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Adelaide is not included in the cap.

And Qatar has utilised all available capacity with its daily flights to Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

In addition, the register of available capacity on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website shows Qatari carriers are allowed to operate seven return flights a week between Qatar and Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth “provided such services operated via or beyond to a point in Australia” other than the four major international gateways.

It is this second provision that has given the airline the room under the bilateral to commence a second daily service to Sydney as it extends on to Canberra.

The Doha-Sydney-Canberra routing means Singapore Airlines will remain the only carrier offering non-stop international services from Canberra, having commenced its Singapore-Canberra-Wellington “Capital Express” offering in September 2016.