Qatar Airways commits to Iran flights despite sanctions

Qatar Airways says US sanctions on Iran will not impact flights to the Islamic republic. (File photo / AFP)
Updated 08 October 2018

Qatar Airways commits to Iran flights despite sanctions

DOHA: US sanctions on Iran will not impact Qatar Airways’ flights to the Islamic republic, the airline’s boss Akbar Al-Baker said on Monday.
Speaking at a high-profile business conference in the Qatari capital Doha, Baker said services to Iran would continue despite a tightening economic and political squeeze on Iran by Washington.
“Aviation is not a sanctioned industry, Qatar Airways will continue to operate into the cities we are currently operating in Iran,” he said.
“Our flights to Iran will not be affected.”
Qatar Airways’ Iran destinations include Mashhad and Shiraz, while the airline operates daily flights to Tehran, according to its website.
Baker’s comments come as US President Donald Trump’s administration is expected to impose a second round of tough sanctions on Iran next month.
A first tranche of punitive measures were introduced in August by the US after it withdrew in May from the 2015 international deal aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
Washington has also warned foreign businesses to steer clear of Iran.
Already, major European airlines including Air France and British Airways have stopped flights to Iran, following the sanctions’ announcement.
Qatar is also under scrutiny over its relationship with Iran, with whom it shares the world’s largest natural gas field.
Since June 5, 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a sweeping embargo on Qatar, sparking the worst political rift to ever hit the Gulf, in part because of Iran.
The four countries accuse Doha of seeking closer ties with Tehran, Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival, as well as supporting radical extremist groups.
Qatar denies the charges, accusing its neighbors of seeking regime change.


Gulf Marine CEO quits after review sparks profit warning

Updated 22 August 2019

Gulf Marine CEO quits after review sparks profit warning

  • Tensions in the Arabian Gulf, a worrisome global growth outlook and uncertainty over oil prices have recently dampened investor confidence

DUBAI: Gulf Marine Services said on Wednesday Chief Executive Officer Duncan Anderson has resigned as the oilfield industry contractor warned a reassessment of its ships and contracts showed profit would fall this year, kicking its shares 12 percent down.

The Abu Dhabi-based offshore services specialist said a review by new finance chief Stephen Kersley of its large E-class vessels operating in Northwest Europe and the Middle East pointed to 2019 core earnings of between $45 million and $48 million, below $58 million that it reported last year.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Anderson, who has served as CEO for 12 years, was asked to step down. Anderson could not be reached for comment.

The company, which in the past predominantly operated in the UAE, expanded operations and deployed large vessels in the North Sea and Saudi Arabia nine years ago and listed its shares in London in 2014.

Tensions in the Arabian Gulf, a worrisome global growth outlook and uncertainty over oil prices have recently dampened investor confidence.

The North Sea has seen a revival in production in recent years due to new fields coming on line and improved performance by operators following the 2014 oil price collapse.

Still, the basin’s production is expected to decline over the next decade, according to Britain’s Oil and Gas Authority.

“(The CFO’s) review has coincided with a pause in renewables-related self-propelled self-elevating support vessels activity in the North Sea, which will impact several of the higher day-rate E-Class vessels,” Investec wrote in a note.

Gulf Marine appointed industry veteran Kersley as chief financial officer in late May as it sought to halt a slide which has seen the company’s shares fall nearly 80 percent last year and another 23 percent so far this year.

The company said market conditions remained challenging and that it was still in talks with its financial advisors regarding a new capital structure.

“Management, the new board and the group’s advisors, have been in negotiation with the group’s banks on resetting its capital structure and progress has been made,” it said in a statement.

Last year, Gulf Marine said contracts were delayed into 2019 as the company was seen to be in breach of certain banking covenants at the end of 2018.

The company said it was still in talks with its banks and individual lenders with hopes of getting a waiver or an agreement to amend the concerned covenants.