Qatar’s Al Baker refutes US claims in press conference

As the war of words continues between US and European airlines and their Gulf-based rivals, Akbar Al Baker, Group chief executive for Qatar Airways, held a landmark press conference in Washington D.C. in Mid-May, adding the airline’s voice to the ongoing US Open Skies debate.


Qatar’s Al Baker refutes US claims in press conference


As the war of words continues between US and European airlines and their Gulf-based rivals, Akbar Al Baker, Group chief executive for Qatar Airways, held a landmark press conference in Washington D.C. in Mid-May, adding the airline’s voice to the ongoing US Open Skies debate.

During his visit, Al Baker also met with government officials and prepared for upcoming US launches to Los Angeles, Boston, and Atlanta.

Al Baker refuted what he described as the “baseless” claims of the “Big Three” US airlines (American, Delta & United), calling them “a transparent attempt to block new competition and limit consumer choice”. “US Open Skies Agreements are about offering choice – the ability to fly with the airline you prefer, to regions which are under-served by US carriers,” said Al Baker. “The Big Three want to restrict choice. World travelers would suffer if they succeed.“

Speaking from the Hay-Adams Hotel, Al Baker used the forum to clarify Qatar Airways’ position, debunk accusations of subsidy and demonstrate the broad public benefits of the existing Open Skies Agreements. Al Baker also noted that Open Skies Agreements go well beyond the interests of the Big Three. He cited numerous American companies and groups, which support Open Skies Agreements, including US airports, travel and trade groups, consumer groups and other US airlines.