Monday, August 28, 2017

Qatar firm on India airline plan

Qatar Airways is firm on its plan to start an airline in India despite facing business challenges because of sanctions imposed on Qatar by some Gulf countries.

“India is a big market and we will definitely start operations there,” Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said after inaugurating the carrier’s direct flight from Doha to Prague in the Czech Republic.

Asked if Qatar Airways would bid for Air India, which the Centre recently decided to privatise, he said the airline was not interested in buying India’s national carrier as “we want to launch our own airline.”

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain are among countries that have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed what Mr. Al Baker described as “illegal sanctions on my country” for its alleged support to militant groups.

Qatar Airways, he said, was resilient and the trade and travel ban would not curb its drive to expand its global footprint.

Mr. Al Baker accused some carriers in India — declining to name them — of trying to block Qatar Airways from starting an airline but hoped the “Indian government will not favour them only.”

“We will overcome this opposition because travellers in India deserve more,” he said, citing the government’s business friendly policies.
28/08/17 H Khogen Singh/The Hindu