Qatar Airways has announced plans to resume scheduled service to the Australian city of Brisbane.

The Gulf carrier will offer three flights per week to Queensland’s capital from May 20, operated with an A350-1000 aircraft configured with 46 seats in business class and 281 seats in economy.

It’s not clear whether any enforced social distancing onboard will bring these capacity numbers down – Business Traveller previously reported that the carrier is practising social distancing where possible, especially on flights with lighter loads.

The resumption of services to Brisbane means Qatar Airways will offer flights to four Australian cities – Brisbane (three flights per week), Melbourne (daily), Perth (four flights per week) and Sydney (daily).

Last week the carrier announced plans to increase operations to a total of 80 destinations by the end of June, “in line with the expected relaxation of entry restrictions around the world”.

The airline said that the initial focus would be on strengthening connections between Doha and the global hubs of partner airlines in London, Chicago, Dallas and Hong Kong, as well as reopening flights to “many major business and leisure destinations such as Madrid and Mumbai”.

Connections will be available at Doha International for passengers looking to fly from London to Brisbane, but note the current restrictions on travel to Australia as published on the country’s Department of Health website.

Commenting on the news Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker, said:

“In these difficult times, customers are looking for an airline they can trust, our commitment and willingness to get people home continues to provide assurance. We have built a strong level of confidence with passengers, governments, trade partners, and airports as a reliable partner during this crisis and we intend to continue delivering on this mission.

“Qatar Airways received exceptional approval to operate short term services to Brisbane [between late March and early April] to repatriate the many tourists, students and diplomats who wanted to go back to their home countries.

“Our flights also provided Australians with an opportunity to come back home from various parts of the world including Europe, the Gulf and Middle East, Asia, and others.

We successfully completed this task, but now there are more travellers wanting to get home. We know this is an anxious time for many stranded travellers around the world who want to be with their families and loved ones during this difficult time.

“With the resumption of these three-weekly flights, we are supporting critical passenger movements, and aiming to alleviate some of those anxieties.”