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Qatar officials ‘surprised and shocked’ over blocked flights

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“We are shocked and appalled by the Australian government’s decision to reject our application for additional flights to Australia,” he said.

“What’s even more surprising is that the government has given no reason for rejecting our application. We really don’t understand why. Qatar Airways in the State of Qatar has been a friend and ally of Australia for 40 years.”

Rao said that while the airline “understood the sovereignty” of the Australian government in determining its national interest, “we think that in this particular decision there are some key interests that were perhaps not fully considered such as of what we think they are. should be.”

Labor senator Tony Sheldon asked executives about the treatment of women at Doha Airport in 2020.Credits: Alex Ellinghausen

“We do not think this decision fully takes into account the interests of Australians traveling abroad who are now overpaying for their airfares. It’s no secret.”

Atti, senior vice president of Qatar Airways, said it did not receive a letter from the Australian government confirming that its application for 28 additional flights to major Australian airports had been rejected until July 20, although the letter is dated July 14.

“It was surprising for us to get the decision through the media. And it was even more surprising that we received the letter later that did not describe why,” said Atti.

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However, a King spokesman said in a statement to this masthead that the rejection letter was sent to Qatar’s aviation authority four days before the first media report on The Australian Financial Reviewpublished on July 18.

“It is up to the government involved – in this case Qatar – to advise the airline of the decision so we don’t know when Qatar informed the airline,” the spokesman said.

Asked by the inquiry chair, Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie, what she believed was the reason for the government’s rejection of the application, Atti replied, “I’ll make it clear, it’s a very confusing position”.

The women subjected to invasive searches in Doha have launched legal proceedings in the Federal Court against the airline. Asked if that incident was brought up to the airline during its application, Fathi replied no.

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When asked by Labor senator Tony Sheldon if the airline was seeking to settle the matter with the women, Raos declined to comment other than to say that Qatar Airways would “honor and abide” by the outcome.

“We think this is a very important process, and we need to respect and honor it,” he said.

New Qantas chief executive Vanessa Hudson and chair Richard Goyder, who are facing calls to resign over a series of consumer and workforce controversies facing the airline, are due to face an inquiry later on Wednesday, however , former CEO Alan Joyce declined to appear due to “personal commitments”.

Sheldon said it was disappointing that Joyce and Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker were the only airline heads who refused to appear before the committee.

Raos said Al Baker’s diary, as head of a global airline, “was filled weeks, if not months, in advance”.

“Qatar Airways was invited to appear at this forum less than two weeks ago,” he said.

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