Senate inquiry into government’s Qatar Airways snub to go ahead


A Senate inquiry into the federal government’s decision to block Qatar Airways request for additional flights into Australia will go ahead after the motion passed by just one vote.

The inquiry’s committee will comprise three opposition members, two government members and two crossbenchers, who will examine the government’s actions relating to “any proposals received in the past 12 months for additional services to Australia’s major airports”. The committee will hand down its report in October.

The inquiry was instigated by Shadow Transport Minister Bridget McKenzie who claims the decision by the government resulted in stifled competition and may have been motivated to protect Qantas market share.

The government has not presented much in the way of reasoning behind the decision saying simply it was made in the national interest.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also denied speaking with former Qantas CEO Alan Joyce about the matter but Joyce conceded that he wrote to the government in October requesting they deny Qatar the extra flights, saying it would distort the market.

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka has also claimed the move has kept airfares higher than necessary.