Executive Briefings

Qatar Airways Responds to Blockade by Middle Eastern Neighbors by Adding New Routes

Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways, has never shied away from a fight.

When Delta, United and American Airlines accused the Doha-based carrier in 2016 of competing unfairly by accepting subsidies from its oil-rich government owners, Al Baker responded by promising to add dozens of new U.S. destinations.

The new destinations included Atlanta, the biggest hub for Delta Air Lines.

"I like to rub a little salt on the wound of Delta when I announce these flights," Al Baker joked at a news conference.

Al Baker remains defiant. Last week, he announced that Qatar Airways plans to add 16 international destinations and expand service to eight other cities in response to a blockade launched this summer by several Middle Eastern countries.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt accused the country of Qatar of harboring, funding and championing Islamist terrorists. The countries cut air, sea and land links with Qatar, among other punitive measures.

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When Delta, United and American Airlines accused the Doha-based carrier in 2016 of competing unfairly by accepting subsidies from its oil-rich government owners, Al Baker responded by promising to add dozens of new U.S. destinations.

The new destinations included Atlanta, the biggest hub for Delta Air Lines.

"I like to rub a little salt on the wound of Delta when I announce these flights," Al Baker joked at a news conference.

Al Baker remains defiant. Last week, he announced that Qatar Airways plans to add 16 international destinations and expand service to eight other cities in response to a blockade launched this summer by several Middle Eastern countries.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt accused the country of Qatar of harboring, funding and championing Islamist terrorists. The countries cut air, sea and land links with Qatar, among other punitive measures.

Read full article