Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar al-Baker has reiterated that the national airline “is not subsidised”.
“No discussion about our network would be complete without discussing the ongoing campaign to discredit our business model and claim unfair competitive practices under the Open Skies air services agreement we have with the United States,” al-Baker noted in Qatar Airways Group ‘Annual Report 2016’ released yesterday.
Al-Baker said, “Our position on this is clear: Qatar Airways is not subsidised. We compete for market share based on our product and service, which is clearly winning in the markets we choose to compete in. We have submitted our response to the US government and trust they will rule wisely.”
Over the next year, al-Baker said Qatar Airways “will continue to monitor consequences” of a volatile oil price on energy economies.
“While falling fuel prices are welcome, a significant portion of our business relies on business travel from the energy sector. Cost offsets, to date, are not greater than the lost revenue opportunities. Our business model is built for this fluctuating global economy,” al-Baker said.
Where other airlines attempt to increase yield through “premium economy” and other misnomers, Qatar Airways continues to focus on providing the best experience for the best price.
“Later this year, we will introduce a new ‘Business Class experience’ that will revolutionise the front cabin. In economy class, we will continue to cater to the value travellers, by offering a comfortable seat, the most entertainment options of any airline, and the best service in the skies – all for the price of a regular economy seat.”
Other airlines dress this up as “premium economy” and overcharge the customer for the privilege, he noted.
“But perhaps our greatest hedge against global economic uncertainty is our cost discipline. In recent years, we examined every part of our operation, every line of our financial records, and every practice and policy in our business to seek out waste and streamline our business.
“While the majority of our cost reduction is attributable to the reduction in fuel cost, we have built into our culture a strong checks-and-balances system to examine our spend. We spend wisely, in improving our product and offerings, and thoughtfully, but always with an objective assessment of what value that cost brings to our company.”
Qatar Airways “has long been the fastest growing airline in the history of aviation,” al-Baker pointed out.
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