x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 25 November 2017

Qatar Airways chief delivers fresh tirade against ‘bullying’ attempts by US carriers

'They have consolidated and reduced capacity to keep prices high against the interests of the customers and provide crap service', said Akbar Al Baker.

Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways. Francois Nel / Getty Images
Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways. Francois Nel / Getty Images

The outspoken chief of Qatar Airways has launched a fresh salvo against major carriers attempting to hinder the operations of Arabian Gulf airlines in the United States.

American Airlines, United Continental and Delta Air Lines are lobbying to prevent Gulf carriers from adding extra routes to the US, pending a review of Open Skies agreements.

“Open skies allows us to provide service to underserved routes,” said Mr Al Baker in Washington. “US carriers have attacked this before, and their claims should be rejected as it is a claim to eliminate competition and choice.”

Mr Al Baker said last week that he would not mince his words on his US trip, and, true to form, he did not disappoint.

“[US carriers] have become greedy to make even more profits. They have consolidated and reduced capacity to keep prices high against the interests of the customers.”

Mr Al Baker dismissed allegations that Gulf carriers Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways received an unfair advantage via state subsidies, placing them in breach of open skies agreements.

“We don’t receive handouts or subsidies from the state,” he said. “The state is the owner of the airline but it’s within the right of any owner to inject equity. We are independent. We are operating a very successful model of an airline that is owned by the state as a commercial company.”

jeverington@thenational.ae

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