Qatar airways boss predicts losses, blames Arab boycott

Qatar Airways' chief executive Akbar al-Baker attends a function in the Australian capital Canberra Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (AP)

Qatar Airways' chief executive admitted on Tuesday that the carrier will post a loss this year due to the fact that the four boycotting Arab countries have severed land, air and sea links with Qatar.

Akbar al-Baker said that the ban on Qatar's flagship airline flying to neighboring Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt since last summer has forced it to fly longer routes through Turkey and Iran, and has hit the company's bottom line.

"We have increased maintenance costs because we are flying longer routes, we have more fuel consumption, so the cost to the airline is rising and I have already stated that the airline will post a loss this year due to the blockade, but this doesn't mean that we are going to shrink," al-Baker said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Qatar's four neighbors have effectively cut their air, land and sea ties, though there is no military blockade.

US President Donald Trump last year denounced Qatar for funding terrorism and supporting extremists that led to the severing of Qatar's links with its neighbors.

(With AP)

Last Update: Tuesday, 13 February 2018 KSA 19:14 - GMT 16:14

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