Women’s Lawsuit Advances Against Qatar Airways after Invasive Examinations at Doha Airport

Melbourne, Australia – An Australian court has dismissed the case of five women who sought compensation from Qatar Airways regarding intrusive gynecological exams conducted on passengers at Doha’s airport in 2020. However, the women’s case against the airport’s operator, the Qatar Company for Airports Operation and Management (MATAR), will move forward. The women, whose identities remain confidential due to court orders, were among numerous women who were forcibly removed from planes in Doha on October 2, 2020, as authorities were searching for the mother of an abandoned newborn baby found in a trash can at the terminal.

According to Federal Court Justice John Halley’s ruling on Wednesday, the women’s arguments against state-owned Qatar Airways did not meet the protocols for international airline liability. He stated that the principle of exclusivity barred the applicants from seeking damages from Qatar Airways. Justice Halley also decided that the case against the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority would not proceed. However, the women can continue their case against MATAR, which serves as the airport’s operator and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qatar Airways.

The women’s attorney, Damian Sturzaker, acknowledged the possibility of an appeal and emphasized the resilience of his clients in pursuing their claims against MATAR. The next court hearing for this ongoing case is scheduled for May 10.

Transport Minister Catherine King of Australia has yet to provide a comment on the court’s decision. However, it was noted that she had previously linked the examinations of passengers to her decision to deny Qatar Airways’ request to expand its services to Australia.

Matt Raos, Senior Vice President of Qatar Airways, assured an Australian Senate inquiry in September that the controversial examinations of passengers would never happen again and that the airline was fully dedicated to preventing such occurrences in the future.

In conclusion, an Australian court has dismissed the compensation case brought by five women against Qatar Airways over invasive gynecological examinations conducted on passengers in Doha’s airport. While their case against the airport’s operator will continue, the women are considering an appeal against the court’s ruling. This incident has led to significant scrutiny and the assurance from Qatar Airways that such examinations will never be repeated. The impact of this case on future aviation protocols and passenger rights remains to be seen.