In a recent development, Qatar Airways has vowed that the invasive intimate examinations of female passengers will not be repeated.
According to AP, the airline's manager, Matt Roas, testified before Australian senators, describing the incident as a "one-time" and "very extreme" event.
He pledged that the airline would take all necessary steps to prevent such incidents in the future. However, due to ongoing legal proceedings, he refrained from providing further details.
The controversy stems from an incident at Doha Airport, where a newborn baby was found abandoned in a bathroom. In a search for the mother, female passengers on a Qatar Airways flight were subjected to invasive intimate examinations without their consent.
The incident has led to legal action against the airline and has also influenced Australian authorities' decision to deny additional landing licenses to Qatar Airways.
Transport Minister King cited the Doha incident as a significant factor in her decision to deny the airline's application for additional landing licenses in Australia.
Five Australian women, who are under a court-ordered confidentiality agreement, have filed a lawsuit against Qatar Airways in an Australian federal court. According to their accounts, they were escorted by security personnel at gunpoint and then subjected to the examinations. The women claim that the airline has not issued an apology for the incident.
The plaintiffs contacted Transport Minister King when Qatar Airways sought to increase its landing licenses from the current 28 flights per week to 56.
"We firmly believe that Qatar Airways is not fit to fly passengers around the globe, especially not to major Australian airports," said the women.
Qatar Airways' manager, Raos, expressed surprise at the denied landing licenses. Transport Minister King clarified that the Doha incident was just one of the factors in her decision.
The Senate committee will also investigate whether this gives an unfair advantage to the Australian airline Qantas. It remains unclear whether the mother of the abandoned child has been identified.