Qatar Airways denies ‘unfair' advantage

K. Giriprakash Brussels | Updated on February 02, 2011

Mr Akbar Al Baker

Qatar Airways has hit out at some of the airlines in the West for claiming that it holds an “unfair” advantage over them because it is subsidised by the government.

“They are afraid of us. They cannot match our products,” the Qatar Airways Chief Executive, Mr Akbar Al Baker, told newspersons on the occasion of the airline's launch of a direct, five times a week flight from its headquarters in Doha to Brussels.

Mr Al Baker, who is credited with turning around Qatar Airways, said his airline is no longer subsidised by the Qatar Government.

He said some of the competing airlines are unable to digest the fact that Gulf carriers are run far more efficiently than theirs. Qatar Airways is equally owned by the government and the private sector. “If they want to compete with us, let them come out with a better product,” he said.

utilisation rate

He pointed out that the utilisation rate of Qatar Airways' aircraft is as high as 14 hours a day compared with some of the competing airlines whose utilisation rate was half of that. “Because of that, now they say that our aircraft emits more CO2. But the fact is our aircraft emits far less CO2 than theirs,” he said.

Mr Al Baker, who is also spearheading the $14.2-billion New Doha International Airport project scheduled to open in 2012, said that the airline will start using GTL (gas-to-liquids) kerosene fuel for most of its Airbus fleet as it is more economical than aviation turbine fuel, reduces carbon emissions and improves aircraft efficiency. Aircraft fuel accounts for 40 per cent of an airline's operating costs.


The airline has placed orders for 200 new aircraft worth over $40 billion. This includes an order for five A380s, which will join the fleet starting 2012. Mr Al Baker said the acquisition of the aircraft will be funded through a combination of internal accruals and debt.

Mr Al Baker also announced that the airline will go public in a couple of years. He said the airline's EBITDA growth was 47 per cent year on year and in this fiscal will carry about 16 million passengers, about 1.5 million more passengers than 2009-10.

Published on February 02, 2011

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