Mr Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways was full of scathing criticism for Air France and Boeing, media sources have reported. Al Baker accused Air France of not responding to advances made by Qatar for a resolution of the conflict between Gulf-based airlines on one hand and European ones on the other. The conflict stems from credit rules that allow the grant of export loans to airlines based in Asia and the Gulf if they buy Airbus or Boeing aircrafts. However, the credit rules do not offer this facility to the airlines, which happen to be based in those countries where the planes are manufactured. Many of the airlines from the EU and the US have lashed out against these rules.
More on the Conflict
Qatar as well as other Gulf airlines want to develop the Gulf as a very important airline hub and they need more and more planes on an urgent basis to this end. This also spells as a possibility of a growth in the number of cheap flights. However, traditional airlines are concerned that the new situation would jeopardise their position. Commenting upon the issue, Tim Clark, the President of Emirates remarked that Gulf carriers did 'not want to kill' airlines from Europe serving the Gulf. However, he also went to the extent of saying that even if these traditional airlines get the extra assistance, they will continue to struggle.
The level of tension can be gauged from Al Baker's comments. He stated that there was no response from Air France when he sent a dinner invitation to CEO and Chairman of the airline. He went on to say 'The hand of friendship extended to Air France has not been reciprocated and this is not conducive to relations between our countries'. This was not all. There were further comments like 'People have to change their perception of Arab carriers. We have to make money. Our governments have made it clear we have to stand on own feet or shrink' and 'We don't have an oil well behind our headquarters to fuel our growth.
The Issue with Boeing
Media sources also reported that Mr Akbar Al Baker was full of scathing criticism for Boeing because of its failure in developing the 787 Dreamliner. He reportedly told a news conference 'I was really taken aback by the (787) programme. I never expected a programme could be delayed so much with a company like Boeing, which has pride in its quality. They have very clearly failed'. He went to the extent of sounding a warning that Qatar may very well consider Airbus for extra business.
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