Al Baker Speaks About Australia Flight Blockage And US Expansion Plans

CNN's Richard Quest recently interviewed Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways, for an insightful discussion on the airline's ongoing issues with Australia and its ambitious expansion plans in the United States.

Australia's Flight Blockage: A "Very Unfair" Decision

In a surprising move, the Australian government denied Qatar Airways' request to increase its flights to the country. This decision has been branded as "very unfair" by Al Baker, especially considering the airline's significant role in repatriating Australians during the pandemic. The airline had requested to double its 28 weekly services to Australia, a request that was denied by Federal Transport Minister Catherine King. The decision was met with surprise and disappointment by Al Baker, who highlighted Qatar Airways' commitment to Australia during the pandemic. Despite some praising Qatar Airways for maintaining flights into and out of Australia during the pandemic, even when domestic carriers stopped flying, the Australian government stood firm on their decision. This has led to a Senate committee holding an inquiry into why the additional flights were blocked.


U.S. Expansion Plans: More Flights, More Destinations

On a more positive note, Al Baker shared exciting news about Qatar Airways' expansion plans in the United States. The airline is set to increase its U.S. services to more than 100 weekly flights across its 12 gateways. Four U.S. gateways - Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C. - will offer double daily flights. Other cities like Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle will all grow to a daily service. This expansion will provide enhanced connectivity to several of the airline’s global leisure destinations including Cape Town, Maldives, Seychelles, and Zanzibar. Al Baker expressed pride in Qatar Airways' commitment to its passengers and trade partners in the United States throughout the pandemic. He emphasized that they have not only maintained continuous services but also launched two new destinations - San Francisco and Seattle.

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Challenges Facing Qatar Airways

When asked about the challenges Qatar Airways is facing amid a surge in air travel, Al Baker said that not only Qatar Airways facing the challenges, it's the entire industry suffering difficulties from engine manufacturers, airframe manufacturers, supply chains, and last but not least, fuel prices. He emphasized that most of the difficulties airframe and engine manufacturers are facing are due to heavy reliance on suppliers to save costs. But in the end, reliance on suppliers caused massive delays in deliveries. 


Looking Ahead

Despite the challenges posed by Australia's decision, Qatar Airways remains committed to providing seamless, safe, and reliable connectivity to its passengers. With its ambitious expansion plans in the U.S., it continues to strengthen its position as a leading international airline. As Al Baker stated in his interview with Richard Quest, "We are proud to have led the industry during this difficult period...and look forward to welcoming our customers back on board as they plan their summer travels."

Endless Possibilities

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