Home / Shipping / Aviation/ Qatar Airways CEO: not interested in Jet Airways as backed by ‘enemy’ state

Qatar Airways CEO: not interested in Jet Airways as backed by ‘enemy’ state


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 16 January 2019 00:00

Facebook

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar al-Baker poses in front of an Airbus A350-1000 at the Eurasia Airshow in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Turkey 25 April 2018 – Reuters 

MUMBAI (Reuters): Qatar Airways will not buy a stake in Jet Airways as a substantial portion of the debt-laden Indian carrier is held by Etihad Airways, whose owner Abu Dhabi is an “enemy” of Qatar, its CEO Akbar al-Baker said on Tuesday.

Abu Dhabi is part of the United Arab Emirates that cut ties with Qatar in 2017 over accusations of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the charges. The UAE, together with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain have banned Qatar Airways since June of that year as part of the dispute.

“We would definitely look at it (Jet Airways) if a 24 percent stake was not held by Etihad,” al-Baker told Reuters on the sidelines of an aviation conference in Mumbai. “How can I take a stake in an airline which is owned by our adversary?”

Etihad plans to hike its stake in Jet to help the Indian carrier with its financial woes, a person close to the Abu Dhabi carrier told Reuters late on Monday.

Al-Baker said Qatar Airways would be “delighted” to take a stake in IndiGo, the largest airline in India - home to the world’s fastest growing aviation market. The Qatari airline has previously expressed an interest in investing in IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation.

“But not in an airline where substantial ownership is by the enemy of my country,” he said, referring to Jet.

Qatar Airways posted a 252 million riyal ($67.18 million) loss for the financial year ended 31 March 2018, as it lost access to 18 destinations due to the political dispute.

As part of a broader effort to diversify its portfolio outside its home market, the Qatari carrier purchased a 10% stake in Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. in 2017 and 5% in China Southern Airlines Co Ltd this month.

Qatar Airways also remains interested in starting a fully owned airline in India, al-Baker said on Tuesday, but that is not allowed under India’s current foreign investment rules.

Given China and India “are the biggest growing markets, it is obvious as an airline we want to invest strategically in those regions because we ourselves are a very rapidly growing airline”, he said.

Al-Baker has threatened publicly to pull Qatar Airways out of the oneworld airline alliance despite holding minority stakes in members Cathay Pacific, British Airways and LATAM Airlines Group SA.

China Southern in November said it would exit the rival SkyTeam alliance, in a move that opened the potential for it to join oneworld.

“Joining oneworld is entirely their business decision and we always will respect as a stakeholder the decision made by the majority shareholder,” al-Baker said of China Southern.


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Wounding the social psyche

Friday, 19 April 2019

In this article, I intend to discuss the serious wounds inflicted on the psyche of Sri Lankan society, which have not received adequate attention, but need immediate cure, for they might develop into a dangerous cancer if not treated without further


No more stones to break Sri Lankan bones

Friday, 19 April 2019

Trial by fire is not a new ordeal to Christian community. It predates Notre Dame and Nazism by millennia. In fact, a decade or so before Nero torched believers to light Roman avenues, Jewish religious leaders put Jesus-followers to the test as the Ch


What 5G could be to Game of Thrones (and vice versa)

Friday, 19 April 2019

We will be hearing a lot about these two seemingly unrelated topics this month. In a hurriedly but meticulously organised event, Dialog Axiata recently demonstrated 5G applications for the first time in South Asia. 5G will be commercially available


On time – Only for a week! A must-change!

Thursday, 18 April 2019

We are in April and the month where we witness the declaration of a new year as per our traditional practice. It is that period of time when a huge majority of our population, which certainly can be counted in millions, intends to act in unison and q


Columnists More