The Australian government has signed a new air service agreement with Qatar Airways, paving the way for a 50 percent increase in flight capacity between the two countries.
The move is expected to give a big boost to agricultural exports as well as tourism.
The changes will add 21 extra flights to both sides per week.
Qatar Airways will run daily direct services between Sydney and Doha starting in 2016, as part of the new deal. Sydney will be the third Australian destination serviced by the airline, which already operates direct return services between Doha, Melbourne and Perth.
The route will be serviced by a Boeing 777-300, with the business class cabin containing 41 seats. Passengers travelling in business class can expect 78-inch lie-flat beds and an on-demand à la carte menu service.
The new agreement also offers the option for Qatar Airways to start more flights to Australia’s regional locations.
Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the extra flight capacity from the Qatar deal is a boost for the tourism industry and will spur growth in the Australia-Qatar and Australia-Europe routes.
“Under our air services arrangements with Qatar, airlines can also operate unlimited services between Qatar and regional locations such as Darwin, Adelaide, Gold Coast and Cairns,” said Mr Truss.
World’s best carrier
Qatar is one of the key trading partners for Australia worth more than $500 million in 2013.
There has been an estimated 15.7 percent increase in the number of travellers from the United Arab Emirates to Australia in the past year while the number of Australians visiting the UAE has had a 16.2 percent spurt.
In June, Qatar Airways was judged the world’s best carrier in the annual SkyTrax awards, in recognition to its attention to details in spaning every aspect of the aircraft. The economy seats of Qatar Airways were also lauded for being the roomiest and most comfortable in the world. The Doha-based airline also offers the passengers, some 2000 entertainment options on their screens.
Qatar Airways’ two-storey Al Mourjan Business Lounge at Hamad International Airport is one of the world’s largest, with 10,000 square metres of space for up to 1,000 guests at a time.
The lounge has private rooms, family spaces and a games room. There’s also a nursery and shower rooms with amenities.
Hamad International Airport also houses a spa that is accessible for all passengers, with a swimming pool, squash courts, sauna and steam rooms.