Thirteen Australian women traveling on Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Sydney were forced to undergo a genital exam. The incident occurred after a premature baby was discovered in the terminal bathroom of Hamad International Airport (HIA), Qatar.
On October 2, 2020, flight QR908 was due to depart from Hamad International Airport at 8:30pm local time but was delayed for three hours after a newborn was found abandoned in the terminal bathroom. All women on board were asked to leave the airplane without any explanation. They were taken to two ambulances waiting on the tarmac where an invasive check was carried out. The women reported being terrified and humiliated.
Australia’s government condemned Qatari authorities for the inappropriate treatment of female passengers. “This is a grossly, grossly disturbing, offensive, concerning set of events. It is not something that I have ever heard of occurring in my life,” commented Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne. She announced that the matter had been reported to the Australian Federal Police and an international investigation was launched.
Hamad airport released a statement explaining that they were concerned to find the mother of the abandoned baby before she left the airport. At this time the newborn is still unidentified but it is taken care of by medical and social workers.
Both Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport are owned by the state of Qatar. The airline has kept flying throughout the pandemic launching a slogan ‘Taking You Home’. It is off to become the top international carrier to Australia. Australian government’s Bureau of Infrastructure confirmed that Qatar Airways share of passengers leaped from just 3% to 44.5% in April while the previous number one carrier Qantas dropped its numbers from 17.9% to just 2.9%.