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Tue 17 Apr 2012 08:58 AM

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No interest in buying smaller carriers - Qatar Airways CEO

Speaking to Arabian Business, Akbar Al Baker said he will leave the acquisitions to rival Etihad

No interest in buying smaller carriers - Qatar Airways CEO

The CEO of Qatar Airways has said he has “no interest” in buying stakes in smaller airlines, and was not in talks with any other carriers.

In an interview with Arabian Business, Akbar Al Baker said he would leave these kinds of ventures to rival Etihad, which recently voiced an interest in Ireland’s second flag carrier Aer Lingus.

“We are not interested in any small airline,” he said at the Global Aerospace Summit this week. “We will leave that opportunity to Etihad.”

His comments follow speculation that Qatar Airways had showed some interest in loss-making Indian carriers earlier this year.

Other international airlines appear to be adopting a different model; with Etihad confirming is continued interest in Aer Lingus earlier this month.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier, which purchased a 40 per cent stake in Air Seychelles in January and is rumoured to be in talks with Indian airline Kingfisher, told Irish media it would consider picking up the government’s stake in the firm when market conditions were more favourable.

Asked about a potential order with Bombardier for its CSeries aircraft, the Qatar Airways CEO confirmed the deal remained off in the near-term while the airline focused on other programmes with rival plane-makers Airbus and Boeing.

Al Baker said the Middle East’s second largest airline was not looking to make any commercial jet order with the Canadian manufacturer in the near future, but that the deal was still “pending”.

“We are too busy with [the other] four programmes the airline is having so we are keeping this subject pending until a later date.

“These are programmes are with the A380, the A350, the [Boeing] 787 and the neo, so we quite busy with all these. And you know we have limited resources - we are not one of those airlines [which] have a huge team of people.”

Qatar has expressed an interest in the narrow-body CSeries jet for years, but deferred its decision to buy the Bombardier plane last June.

It has since announced plans to place a large business-jet order with Bombardier for its business-jet unit Qatar Executive, but no details of the order have been given.

The initial public offering (IPO) for Qatar Airways is also off the cards in the short term, Al Baker said, but would definitely happen further down the line.

He added that it was unlikely to be this year or next year, and would be dictated by the speed of economic recovery.

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procan 7 years ago

With great regret the behaviour of Al Baker in Montreal representing Qatar Airways has ended any chance of additional landing slots in Canada for his Airline. Al Baker was quoted using fowl language and belligerent attitude and demeaning the Federal government in a public forum and press conference.As a Foreign guest in Canada this is unexceptable. After all this simply a business meeting not life and death issues and becoming emotional to the point of rudeness, show immaturity for and CEO of a major Airline. The continual flow of Middle East Ceos to Canada has done nothing to promote themselves here.Now they are coming to Canada to be rude? They are not welcome here there is no crisis here, all is well has this point not been made numerous times. We here do not want to be impolite but please stop.

Mounir 7 years ago

There is no crisis in Canada? How many tens of thousands of people have been fired from their government jobs in the past 2 weeks alone??

The Canadian government should be begging, literally BEGGING, anyone who has an extra penny to spare in investment or any other opportunities that will generate jobs for Canadians in Canada or Abroad. Imagine all the expat Canadians going back to Canada adding to the unemployment rates? 3.1 million of us live abroad; the LEAST Harper can do is back off and let airlines fly into Canada so we can go home more often and spend our money there. The LEAST Harper can do is let private business set the needs, NOT interfere every 3 seconds on behalf of Air Canada.

CEOs now are most welcome in Canada. It is people like you who make things seem so rosy that should stay silent.

Jake 7 years ago

Yeah but they wont return, at least until their retirement. Availing the canadian citizenship has it's benefits I suppose.

procan 7 years ago

@ mounir I am sorry that you feel i must be silent because I would in no way silence you views . But in a effort to show proper behaviour I will not visit the subject for some time in hope you come to your senses. All are welcome in Canada please bring your good manners with you.

neighbour 7 years ago

It is heartening to know that many fresh migrants to Canada, don the mantle of championing the cause of Canada along with their citizenship.
Alas but had people displayed such altruism towards their country of antecedence, scarcely would have the need arose ,to set off to find a land to call their own.
What can one say-.....Someones loss is verily Canada;s gain