Social media users have entered the chat, leaving comments on a video posted by The Guardian Australia expressing their viewpoints their preference for Qatar Airways over Qantas.
In the midst of a contentious aviation discourse that has stirred controversy nationwide, Australian travelers affected by a recent Federal government action have voiced their opinions.
Australia’s government has come under increasing scrutiny following its decision to deny a request from Qatar Airways to introduce an additional 21 flights to various airports across the western country, including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
The government has yet to provide a clear reason for declining the request, though Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said the decision was made to safeguard the “national interest” and support Qantas’ profitability. However, Jones has since revoked the latter reason.
During a Senate committee session, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce voiced his support for the government’s stance, arguing that permitting extra Qatar Airways flights would disrupt the aviation market equilibrium.
However, in recent weeks, officials, aviation experts and Australia’s competition watchdog have vehemently opposed this decision, asserting that it would have resulted in reduced airfares for consumers.
Social media users have also engaged in the discourse, leaving comments on a video posted by The Guardian Australia expressing their viewpoints.
An overwhelming majority of these commentators have cast their favour with Qatar Airways while critiquing Qantas for its high airfare pricing.
One frustrated individual write: “Qatar is the most affordable way I can see family in New Zealand. Qantas and Air NZ are so unaffordable.”
Pointing out the crucial role Qatar Airways leads in the aviation industry, another social media user wrote: “The government needs to explore all avenues it has available to it to lower the cost of international air travel. Qatar was one of the very few to maintain flights during covid, Qantas did not.”
Another person voiced: “The government is colluding with Qantas to keep flight prices high and they’re using geopolitics as an excuse,” whilst yet another commentator urged: “Stop protecting Qantas. Make them learn to compete.”
“Can confirm as an Aussie I’d fly Qatar anyday over Qantas. If Qantas don’t like it maybe, idk, be competitive [shocked emoji] instead of acting like a literal corporate child,” read another comment.
Ponting out the hypocrisy of the west which has always been highlighted in instances where a regional country is on the receiving end of a predicament, a user said: “If another country prohibited Qantas flights to support a local carrier and stifle competition, they’d go nuts. Smell that hypocrisy?”
Voicing extreme concern over the decision that was alleged to support Qantas’ profitability, an Instagram wrote: “We are stuck with overpriced and badly operated Jetstar to even just get to Japan – when Japan Airlines would be a more affordable and more efficient carrier! How backward is this country, that we are held to ransom by one airline, Qantas?? Not only do we not have a rail infrastructure, we have no way of getting out of the country except through extortion by Qantas.”
These comments surfaced as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) finally entered the conversation, refuting Qantas’ assertions that additional flights would not impact airfares.
Amid growing calls for the government to revisit the controversial decision, the country’s competition watchdog said that increasing the number of Qatar Airways flights into Australia would have resulted in more affordable airfares.
Gina Cass-Gottlieb, head of the ACCC echoed previous sentiments that Qatar Airways’ expansion would have led to decreased prices, a prospect she would have “welcomed,” as per reports.
When questioned on RN Breakfast about whether allowing the additional Qatari flights would have resulted in lower airfares, Cass-Gottlieb responded with “yes.”
The comments come just days after two former heads of the ACCC described the government’s move against Qatar Airways as “a really bad decision” that is disadvantageous to customers.
The Opposition, the Greens and Independent Senator David Pocock are collectively advocating for greater transparency regarding the reasons behind the Federal government’s refusal to grant additional flights to Qatar, particularly in light of Qantas’ lobbying efforts.
This Senate group intends to request the disclosure of documents submitted to the transport minister.