Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Qatar Airways coming to NZ - report

Qatar services would be the latest in a growing list of new flights announced during the past six months as airlines benefit from low fuel prices and strong global demand. Photo / Bloomberg
Qatar services would be the latest in a growing list of new flights announced during the past six months as airlines benefit from low fuel prices and strong global demand. Photo / Bloomberg

Middle Eastern carrier Qatar Airways has plans to fly to New Zealand.

The airline has eyed this market before and Bloomberg reports its chief executive Akbar Al Baker as saying flights to Auckland were part of new expansion plans.

Al Baker said at the Bahrain Air Show last week that it would use long-range Boeing 777 aircraft to fly to this country and to Chile.

An air services agreement signed late last year allows flights between New Zealand and Qatar.

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The New Zealand government said then the opportunity now existed for the airline to serve New Zealand and "this would be a welcome development."

In 2013, when those negotiations began, it was revealed the airline had approached Auckland Airport about flights to this country.

Today an airport spokesman said the company was unable to comment specifically on the Bloomberg report.

"We are in contact with a number of international airlines about the possibility of them flying to Auckland," said the spokesman .

Qatar Airways started flying in 1993 and is one of the world's fastest-growing airlines. It has built up a fleet of 109 wide body aircraft, including 39 Boeing 777s and has orders for a more than 200 planes worth.

It has been flying to a number of Australian cities since 2009.

Sean Berenson, Flight Centre general manager product said Qatar was regarded as one of the best in the business.

It's great to hear they may be considering New Zealand as a new destination. If they do decide to come down it will be good news for our customers as it will bring another well-regarded carrier into the mix, something we welcome at Flight Centre given the rise in demand for travel we've seen ourselves.

Qatar services would be the latest in a growing list of new flights announced during the past six months as airlines benefit from low fuel prices and strong global demand for travel.

AirAsia X is resuming flights to New Zealand in March with services to the Gold Coast and on to Singapore, south-west China based Sichuan Airlines is eyeing flights here and giant United States carriers American Airlines and United Airlines will return to New Zealand with flights across the Pacific later this year.

Air New Zealand started flying to Buenos Aires and Houston last month and will launch seasonal flights to Vietnam in June.

- NZ Herald

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