Qatar Airways to grow despite boycott, CEO says

Akbar Al-Baker said his state-owned airline might know by April the size of the loss. (AP)
Updated 13 February 2018

Qatar Airways to grow despite boycott, CEO says

CANBERRA, Australia: Qatar Airways’ chief executive said Tuesday the carrier will post a loss this year because four other Arab countries have severed land, air and sea links with Qatar.
Akbar Al-Baker said his state-owned airline might know by April the size of the loss. He could not give a timeline on when the new routes would make up for markets lost.
“It all depends on how quick we will be able to mature the new destinations that we are operating instead of the destinations that were taken away from us during the boycott,” Al-Baker said.
“The world is very large and we are always looking at new opportunities which we have been doing very successfully. We will grow everywhere, not only by ... new destinations but also grow frequencies,” he added.
Qatar’s four neighbors have effectively cut their air, land and sea links, isolating it, though there is no military boycott.
President Donald Trump last year denounced Qatar for allegedly funding terrorism.
But Al-Baker has ruled out any reputational damage for his airline or his country from that accusation of supporting extremists that led to the severing of Qatar’s links with its neighbors.
“Mr. Trump realizes that he was misinformed, misled by the blockading countries to believe that Qatar was a pariah in the region, which is not the case. We are a big supporter and an ally of the United States,” he said.
Al-Baker rejected reports last month from the UAE, home of the world’s busiest airport in Dubai, that Qatari fighter jets had “intercepted” Emirati commercial airliners. The air forces of Qatar’s boycotting neighbors have never intercepted a Qatar Airways airliner, he said.
“This is false news just to increase the temperature and find ways to expand the conflict,” Al-Baker said.
The US and Qatar last month inked a deal to resolve a years-old quarrel over alleged airline subsidies.
The aviation agreement calls for Qatar Airways to open up its accounting books: US airlines say the company receives billions of dollars in government payments that leave them at a competitive disadvantage. Qatar also made a loose commitment not to launch flights to the US from Europe or other non-Qatari cities that would create yet more competition for US carriers.
Al-Baker denied his airline was subsidized and said he had no interest in using “fifth freedom” rights to stop in other countries en route to the US.
Al-Baker told reporters at a Kuwait air show last month that a US start-up airline had offered Qatar Airways a 25 percent stake.
The offer remains “under wraps,” Al-Baker said Tuesday.
“But Qatar as a country and Qatar Airways are very keen to invest in the United States,” Al-Baker said.


Saudi Arabia, Iraq confirm full commitment to OPEC+ agreement- statement.

Updated 21 min 8 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, Iraq confirm full commitment to OPEC+ agreement- statement.

  • Both countries ministers said efforts by OPEC+ to meet their output cuts will enhance market stability

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Iraq on Monday confirmed their full commitment to the OPEC+ agreement.
Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, and Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail held discussions on developments in the oil markets, the improved global demand for oil, and progress in implementing the current OPEC+ agreement to reduce production.
OPEC and its allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+, agreed to cut oil output from May by a record 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) after the coronavirus crisis destroyed a third of global demand.
The record cuts are now due to run to the end of July, before tapering to 7.7 million bpd until December.
But some OPEC members have not fully delivered on their agreed production cuts since May.
During a phone call, the Saudi minister commended Iraq’s performance within the framework of the agreement, as the country’s level of commitment in June reached nearly 90 percent.
Prince Abdulaziz thanked the Iraqi minister for his efforts in reaching the target, and expressed his confidence that Iraq will continue to improve its level of compliance with the oil cuts.
Ismail said Iraq would continue to improve compliance with the cuts to reach 100 percent by the start of August, pledging to compensate from July to September for the overproduction in May and June.
Both ministers also said that efforts by OPEC+, and the participating countries in the agreement, to meet their output cuts would enhance market stability and speed up their balanced recovery.

  • With Reuters