Sydney: The blockade on Qatar by a quartet of Arab countries has had no impact so far on the world's largest aerospace company Boeing, said company’s senior vice-president (International Sales) Marty Bentrott.
“Our relationship with the State of Qatar and its outstanding airline Qatar Airways is terrific. We really cherish our partnership with Qatar Airways and will continue to closely maintain it,” Bentrott said in a recent interview with Gulf Times at the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour.
“I just want to reiterate what an important relationship it is for the Boeing Company with the State of Qatar and Qatar Airways. We will continue to maintain our close relationship and listen very carefully to what Mr al-Baker (Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker) has to say. Akbar has been a great supporter of business with Boeing.
“We really cherish our partnership with the airline, with Akbar, and admire everything he has done to develop the aviation infrastructure in Doha,” Bentrott said on the sidelines of the 74th IATA AGM and World Air transport Summit in Sydney.
He said, “Qatar Airways continues to grow; they continue to take new airplanes; they continue to expand their network.”
Bentrott said, “If you recall, we were at the IATA AGM in Cancun, Mexico, a year ago when this (blockade) first occurred. It has gone on longer than most people would have predicted.
“Initially, we were concerned that there might be some impact. We actually are surprised that there has been no impact with respect to our business throughout the region.”
He said, “Boeing’s business in Qatar has not impacted our business in the other countries in the region. We are predominantly focused on commercial products… and there is no animosity amongst anybody in terms of our continuing business in the region. So, there is no impact (with regard to the blockade on Qatar) at this point.”
Bentrott said, “Boeing remains optimistic that things will get resolved, over time. We sincerely hope that. But there is no indication that this political situation is going to have an impact on our business.”
He said the other carriers in the region are also operating under similar circumstances.
“So, we will continue to work with them all. We remain optimistic that things will get sorted out.”
For the bigger Boeing Company, Bentrott said, “Of course, we have a lot of engagement with the State of Qatar, with respect to some of our military products.
“And most recently, senior leadership from the Boeing Company has met with the senior leadership of your country – we have had a number of senior representatives from the State of Qatar in South Carolina, looking at our production facility. So we continue to find opportunity to interact as well as support each other in terms of the business.”
He said Boeing considers the Middle East as an important region for its business.
Boeing, which is the leading global manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems, forecasts that the Middle East region will need some 3,350 new airplanes valued at $730bn over the next 20 years.
Altogether, there are nearly 700 Boeing commercial airplanes currently operated by the company’s Middle East customers with more than 675 on order.
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