Qatar Airways Exploiting Loophole with “Ghost Flights” in Australia, Igniting Controversy

Must Read

In a bold move that has raised eyebrows in the aviation industry, Qatar Airways has been operating near-empty or empty large passenger jets between Melbourne and Adelaide daily.

This maneuver is seen as an attempt to exploit a legal loophole allowing the airline to run extra flights to Australia despite the Australian government’s rejection of their formal request to increase flight capacity.

Dubbed “ghost flights,” these mysterious flights have faced industry criticism for potentially undermining Australia’s strict aviation laws. Qatar Airways, owned by the Qatari government, operates under a 28-weekly-service limit to major Australian airports, but non-major airports remain unrestricted by the existing bilateral agreement.

“They were taking the piss out of the industry and the laws,” an aviation industry source said.

Qatar Airways ingeniously introduced a second daily flight between Doha and Melbourne, using Adelaide as Australia’s registered destination and departure port. By deploying the Boeing 777-300ERs between Melbourne and Adelaide, the airline avoids exceeding the weekly service limit to major airports set by the bilateral agreement.

Despite the ingenuity, Australia’s aviation laws prohibit the sale of tickets on the Melbourne-Adelaide leg to domestic passengers, restricting the route to international travelers heading to Doha. Consequently, passenger numbers on these flights remain strikingly low, often in the single digits or even zero. 

Frustrated by Qatar Airways’ exploitation of the loophole, the Department of Infrastructure and Transport imposed a condition on the flights, mandating their availability for sale to passengers and cargo traveling to and from Adelaide.

“…for these flights on this route, they must be available for sale for passengers and cargo arriving and departing from Adelaide,” a spokesperson for the transport minister, Catherine King, said.

While Qatar Airways’ attempt to capitalize on this regulatory gap has attracted criticism, the decision to allow these extra flights to continue comes after rejecting their bid for additional air rights. 

- Advertisement -spot_img
Latest News
- Advertisement -spot_img

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -spot_img