Qatar Comments

THE CEO of Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker sounded unhappy over comments made by the Secretary General of the Association of European Airlines, Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus at a meeting of aviation officials in Washington.  The comments concerned the ‘dramatic’ rise of Gulf carriers and their impact on the global aviation industry.  Mr Al Baker said that they were “factually incorrect and unfounded.”

“Mr Schulte-Strathaus in his remarks included a number of ‘facts’, which I beg to disagree with.  The geographical proximity of Doha, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi gives rise to an anomaly in aviation.  The fact of the matter is that it is quite common to have a multitude of hubs in close proximity: Singapore and Kuala Lumpur; Paris, Amsterdam, and London; Frankfurt, Zurich, and Vienna; the airports of New York and so on.  Therefore, having three major hubs within a 280 mile (450km) radius is not a novelty in aviation.  He goes further in saying that two of the Gulf airlines have never made a profit.  First of all, I would like to ask him how does he know that since Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways are not publishing their financial reports as yet?  But from the principle standpoint: If profit was the only reason why airlines buy aircraft, as he is insinuating, then the net result of buying new aircraft in this whole industry should have been negative during the last decade.  The European airlines were pioneers in a large number of areas.  We in the Gulf airlines’ community have learnt a lot from them.  They should accept competition.”                         (Photo – Sharjah Airport)