By Neil Halligan
Doha carrier says lower growth was due to "complications" with delivers of the A380 and 787 Dreamliner
Qatar Airways’ financial results, due to be announced in the coming weeks, will not be as good as expected, with the carrier's outspoken CEO, Akbar Al Baker, laying the blame firmly with plane manufacturers Airbus and Boeing.
Speaking at a conference at Arabian Travel Market, Al Baker said delays to the delivery of both the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner meant that the airline did not hit the targets Al Baker was hoping for.
“Business has been good, except our performance was not what we expected [due] to the delay of four A380s. It was nearly six months delayed while we were bickering with Airbus on the quality of the product,” said Al Baker.
“At the same time we had some delays in the delivery of our 787s, again due to complications, so this, put together the sales performance that we expected [but] didn't happen... our profit will be less than what I was estimating,” he added.
He said the financial year ended on March 31 and are currently being certified by auditors.
Al Baker said that despite the drop in oil there hasn’t been any drop in ticket prices as they were already on a tight margin, having hedged the price. He said the year ahead was going to see another aggressive growth strategy, with expansion into new routes.
“A lot of people think that because the oil price has dropped by 50 percent, so also our ticket prices should go down by 50 percent. They don't realise that when the oil prices were high, our margins were absolutely eroded and we were in negative territory,” he said.
“Fortunately, we were hedged so we benefited from a stable oil price in our cost structure. However, other than that our growth has been unimpeded, we have added 12 routes to our network and this year is going to be the same. We are going to be very aggressive and will expand into new routes,” Al Baker added.
The airline's expansion plan also includes an increase in the daily flights to Dubai from its Doha base. The airline will operate 18 flights daily - dubbed 'the Dubai Shuttle' - starting from a price of QR530 ($145).
Reading this article and a few other today out of Qatar Airways today I find that this carrier is anti Boeing in a big way. Yes, in this article both Airbus and Boeing are mentioned, however I just read another article where they are saying that Airbus needs to do this and that so as to stop Boeing from doing better than Airbus. I will not fly this airline again. As an American I can not do business with any company that does anything anti American.
I don't tend to agree with your Rick. When a customer complains against his supplier on delayed delivery of goods or defective goods, I don't think that means he is being anti-anything. He is just expressing his dissatisfaction as a customer and equating that issue of having a direct effect to his business which if you are in the business environment, you would understand to be true. But making him as anti-American for speaking this out does not seem right. There are so many things I disagree with this guy, but I don't totally disagree with him in this instance. This may not be the only reason for him not meeting his forecast and some factors may have affected it as well (remember ban on alcohol?). Who knows, I don't pretend to be the expert anyway.
Rick, I think you need to lighten up. The CEO has been critical of both because it keeps him in the press. It's not a question of one over another given he runs a mixed fleet and demanded to be a launch customer of Boeing's 787. He was also pretty critical of the Airbus A380 immediately prior to delivery. The truth is that Etihad press launched its A380 cabin layout which made the other 2nd best. But his airline has received very favorable reviews from the traveling public. I don't think he's anti American, just likes to hog the limelight.