Qatar Airways keen to expand Canada services

Posted: April 15, 2012 in Airlines, Canada, USA
Tags: , , , , ,

The CEO of Qatar Airways has said he is struggling to secure more landing rights to boost services to Canada.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker. (AFP/Getty Images)

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker. (AFP/Getty Images)

Akbar Al Baker said in a speech in Montreal that Canadians deserved a better airline service to the Middle East but government restrictions were hindering progress.

“Qatar is of course interested in forging even closer ties with Canada but we are struggling with being granted additional landing rights,” he said in comments pubished by Canada’s Globe and Mail.

“You Canadians deserve that. It clearly shows the need for more flights. More capacity and more frequency drive greater competition and have only positive economic impact for the benefit of both countries.”

Already, the three weekly flights launched last June are running ahead of expectations and travelling 85 percent full, he said. He added that that Qatar’s expansion efforts were not designed to undermine Air Canada, which has previously opposed any additional flights from Middle East-based rivals.

The Canadian carrier has complained that the partially state-owned Middle Eastern carriers benefit from an unfair advantage.

“Air Canada should not get worried of competition. Competition makes other airlines very strong,” Al Baker said.

Montreal is Qatar’s fourth North American gateway, in addition to Houston, New York and Washington. Last month, it was reported that relations between Canada and the UAE were back on track following a spat over airline landing rights two years ago.

Relations between the oil-rich UAE and Canada deteriorated rapidly after Canada’s transport agency refused to give Gulf carriers Etihad and Emirates new landing rights.

Read the full story at Arabian Business News….

By Andy Sambidge – Arabian Business News
Saturday, 14 April 2012


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