AVIATION & TRANSPORT

Qatar airways CEO: 'Bullying' Qatar will affect profits

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker speaks at a press conference during the Arabian Travel Market Exhibition in Dubai on April 24, 2017. (AP)

Qatar Airways' CEO Akbar al-Baker accused neighboring Gulf States Thursday of "bullying" his country during the region's political crisis and said his company's profits would be hit by the dispute.

Baker insisted that Qatar could sustain the impact of what he called a blockade imposed on Doha, but conceded that an impact on profits was inevitable for the Gulf carrier.

"It has to (affect profits) because we have additional costs to operate in and out of the country," he said.

"And this is normal when you are blockading somebody. They will have additional costs to operate in and out of the region."

Pressed on how much of an impact there would be, Baker declined to give numbers.

Last month the airline announced profits of $540 million for the financial year to March 2017, a 22 percent increase on the previous 12-month period.

But the airline faces a hit after the June 5 decision by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to impose sanctions on Qatar, over accusations it supports Islamist extremism and was too close to Iran.

Among the sanctions was a decision to close the airspace of the countries to Qatar Airways.

This means the Doha-based carrier can no longer continue its lucrative services to Dubai and Saudi Arabia, and has to divert some flights on longer routes because of airspace restrictions.

 

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Last Update: Thursday, 13 July 2017 KSA 16:57 - GMT 13:57
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