Image: The Guardian

“They Are Choosing Not To”: Catherine King Addresses Blocked Qatar Flights

The request for 28 additional Qatar Airline flights was “four times more than any previous request”, Transport Minister Catherine King says.

Speaking to media at Canberra Airport on Thursday morning, Ms King was joined by Labor colleagues, explaining the decision to prohibit addiction Qatar Airline flights into major Australian cities.

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Ms King said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese knew of the decision in July.

“The decision [was made] to not grant Qatar Airlines the request for 28 additional flights per week into the Australian international aviation market,” she said.

“I did take that decision on July 10. I informed the Prime Minister prior to the decision being made public.

“Normally, these decisions are not in the public domain.”

Ms King said the decision was made public on July 18, confirming by then, Mr Albanese knew of the decision.

“If you remember, we had multiple media requests on behalf of the women who had been escorted at gunpoint after a Qatar airlines flight and had then been subject on the tarmac in ambulances to invasive body searches,” she said.

“We’d had multiple media inquiries about that.”

Ms King stood firm on Qatar’s ability to still fly into Australia, but “they are choosing not to do so”.

She said there were many other alternative airports to fly into, including Canberra, Adelaide Cairns, and the Gold Coast.

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