- REUTERS/Murad Sezer
- Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker has alleged that Qatar’s Middle Eastern adversaries are trying to intimidate suppliers, manufacturers, and banks into shunning the country.
- Al Baker also said that his country will “remember” those who turn their backs on his homeland
- Since June 2017, several of Qatar’s Persian Gulf neighbors including Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have cut off all relations with the nation.
FARNBOROUGH – Over the past year, Qatar Airways has had to battle financial headwinds resulting from a blockade instituted by the Middle Eastern neighbors of the home country.
However, even as the airline adapts to life with the blockade in place, the man in charge of Qatar Airways doesn’t think the political climate that caused the strife will get better in the near future. In fact, things may get worse, he said.
“I don’t think it is going to get better, on the contrary, they are trying to make things more difficult,” Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker told reporters at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow in England.
The controversial chief executive also accused Qatar’s adversaries of “intimidating” suppliers, manufacturers, and even banks into shunning the country and its national airline.
While Al Baker understands that business must do what’s best for their individual interest, he also hinted there may be consequences for those who capitulate.
“At the end of the day, this is a business decision companies have to make of where they have an interest,” Al Baker said. “They should also know that if they oblige the adversaries, when things get back to normal, we will remember them.”
The Qatari CEO declined to identify the specific party or parties who have gone about the alleged behavior.
Since June 2017, several of Qatar’s Persian Gulf neighbors including Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have cut off all relations with the nation. Points of contention include Qatar’s close ties with Iran, the alleged funding of terrorists, and the country’s controversial Al Jazeera news network.
As a result, of the blockage, Qatar Airways and all Qatari-registered aircraft are barred from entering their respective airspaces.
This has effectively kicked Qatar Airways out of two of its most important markets in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
It has also forced the country’s national airline to take round-about routes that increase both the length and costs of its flights.
For example, the airline’s service between the Qatari capital of Doha and Sao Paulo, Brazil now requires an extra one hour and 45 minutes of flying time because its planes must fly around Saudi-controlled Yemeni airspace.