The chief executive of Qatar Airways has claimed that the Saudi-led blockade and ostracization of his country had “failed in every aspect.”. This criticism of the measures against Qatar by the four other Arab states was done by the executive during the handing over of the newest aircraft to the airlines
More investments in foreign airlines is being looked at by the Qatari flagship carrier while also implementing strategy of addition of routes and aircraft, said Al Baker in Toulouse in France after he was delivered the newest aircraft by Airbus – the SE A350-1000. However, the airline is set to report an annual loss due to the trade embargo by the four Arab countries.
“What was achieved by our adversaries in this blockade? Zero,” the CEO said. “They failed in intimidating our country, in putting us against the wall, trying to take over our sovereignty, trying to dictate our foreign policy, trying to dictate who our friends will be.”
Qatar Airways has had to find out new routes following its inability to fly the routes leading to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. The airlines is also facing problems with the additional flying times due to the diversion of routes away from the restricted airspace, Al Baker said. The airliner does not however have any plans for cancellation of the aircrafts that it has already ordered due to the problems it is facing.
On the other hand, unless the U.S. President Donald Trump makes use of the “huge” U.S. financial and military stake in the Arab countries to force a settlement, there is no very little chance that the restrictions imposed on Qatar by the four other Arab countries would be lifted, believes Al Baker. The sanctions were imposed on Qatar on June 5 last year based on allegations that Qatar was helping fund Islamist terrorism.
“The only progress that I see in this is President Trump coming in on the side of Qatar and making it very clear that this blockade should end,” Al Baker said in a television interview. “We’re hoping that President Trump will impose enough pressure on our neighbors.”
There can be an enhancement in the mutual relationship between the state-owned Qatar Air and the U.S. after a concession that has made the airways to commit to enhance financial transparency and stop making use of third countries to operate flights to America.
The agreement was primarily aimed at pacifying American Airlines Group Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., and United Continental Airlines Inc. and there would be no impact on its operations due to the impact, Al Baker said.
“The American carriers wanted to satisfy themselves with a memorandum of understanding, which was done, because my country is a friend and an ally and we don’t want anything to be disruptive,” he said.
(Adapted from Bloomberg.com)