QATAR Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has voiced his frustration over the pushback the airline is getting from Qantas as it looks to increase its local capacity to double daily flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
Speaking to travelBulletin over the weekend in Doha during a media conference following the naming ceremony of MSC Cruises’ new World Europa, Al Baker accused Qantas of “pulling the plug” on the people of Australia during the pandemic.
Qantas took “billions of taxpayers dollars to benefit the shareholders, but it didn’t benefit the taxpayer that funded that amount, and used this period to consolidate cutting costs in order for them to show that they are very profitable.”
“We lost millions of dollars, because as you know very well that we were restricted from carrying passenger loads…so we were going nearly 16 hours away on an aeroplane carrying 20 to 25 passengers,” he said, highlighting the sacrifices the Qatar flag carrier made.
“What we are trying to do is asking for a reasonable increase to our frequencies,” he added.
Al Baker also dismissed claims that Qatar was in violation of its existing air services agreement.
“I would like to challenge the person who’s saying that we are violating any agreement that we have done with the Government of Australia…if we were violating any agreement, the authorities wouldn’t allow us to do what we do,” he said.
“So I hope my message to the Australian people is clear.”