By Andy Sambidge
Akbar Al Baker says European carriers scared of healthy competition from Gulf operators
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has slammed European airlines’ claims that Gulf carriers unfairly grab market share while being boosted by government handouts.
He criticised the "whingeing tactics" which he said was driven by fear of healthy competition, Air and Business Travel News reported.
Addressing delegates at the Guild of Travel Management Companies' (GTMC) conference in Doha, he rejected a suggestion by Lufthansa chairman Christoph Franz that European airlines were handicapped by government policies in a way Gulf carriers were not.
He said the European airlines’ woes were not down to unfair competition from the Middle East but caused by heavily unionised work forces controlling business and EU governments penalising aviation to “beef up their shallow treasure chests".
Al Baker said the legacy carriers should “belt up and learn to face the real challenges of business today, and don’t shy away from competition".
“It’s been a David versus Goliath story. Once we were small fry, but we are becoming the Goliaths. We have capitalised on our strengths and unique global positioning. We have shifted the goalposts and now we are setting the agenda,” he added.
Al Baker's comments come just a month after he said he believes the EU is using its new Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) as a way of “covering up” inefficiencies in how it manages its finances.
Speaking at the Global Aerospace Summit, Al Baker labelled the scheme an indirect tax and reiterated his previous statement that the move would hurt Middle East airlines more than European carriers, as the former were bringing more aircraft into their fleets.
Last week, Emirates Airline took a new approach in its long-running battle to secure slots at Berlin and Stuttgart airports, brandishing before the government a study that contradicts claims it takes business from flag carrier Lufthansa.
So far, the Gulf-based carrier may only fly to four airports in Germany and its plans to expand have met with fierce opposition from Lufthansa, which claims Emirates benefits from unfair subsidies and is therefore distorting competition on the German market.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
If i was Mr Al Baker i would first concentrate on improving my current service on Q.A . Constantly late flights hampered with technical problems and staffed by under performing and leaderless cabin crew.
The worlds 5 star airline is currently running at arounf 2 and a half !
@Lionheart. The above story is a fact. Your comment is not. Care to back it up? I fly nearly 6 times a month long haul with QR and not one of my flights has been late in the last year (with the exception of the usual congestin delays at LHR).
Get used to it, The Middle East carriers will dominate in the coming years. Kudos to Al-Baker and the other airlines for offering the market choices.
Maybe the European and American can offer livestock long haul service after they are brought to their knees economically.
The service is garbage on these carriers. Just give the ME carriers the pilots.