*National carrier has 'strong reserves to sustain its going-forward' expansion plans, says Group Chief Executive
Qatar Airways is a “very well capitalised airline” and has “strong reserves” to sustain its “going-forward” expansion plans, Group Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker has said.
“If we lose one or two or three years, it does not mean that we have no more cash in our company to sustain our losses. Any successful business has to create reserves. And Qatar Airways has very strong reserves to sustain our going-forward expansion plans,” al-Baker said at a media event at the Hamad International Airport Monday.
Al-Baker affirmed that “Qatar Airways is not going to slow down.”
“We will continue our march ahead… continue expanding…and purchase more airplanes to fulfil our need for the network expansion. Not only for us, but also for helping our partners in which we have invested, so that they too can keep expanding their network and have the capacity they require.”
Asked about Qatar Airways financial performance, the Group Chief Executive said: “Regardless of what we have lost, we are not going to slow down on expansion. We will be announcing our financial results soon.
“Unfortunately, I cannot speak to the press before I speak to the owners of Qatar Airways, which is our government. And we have not yet finished our audited accounts. As soon as we finish our audited accounts, we will announce (financial results) first to our owners (Government of Qatar) and then to the media.”
However, al-Baker stressed: “We are not going to hide anything, like some other people do, when they are losing and cooking their books. We don’t do this…we are very transparent…we want to measure our performance very, very openly.”
And at the same time, al-Baker insisted that Qatar Airways was not going to slow down “because there are external pressures on us.”
“We will always find new ways to get more business. It is my duty to serve my country and its big investment in the airline and to make sure that we continue our march ahead. Hopefully very soon, we will be again showing very handsome profits.”
He said, “Some of the world’s biggest airlines and world’s strongest airlines have also had massive losses. That does not mean they have disappeared…because they are (as organisations) either well capitalised or have legal protection under chapter 11 to sweep their losses under the carpet and then start all over again. But this is a liberty, I don’t have.”
In terms of Qatar Airways financial performance so far this year, the Group Chief Executive said, “We are ahead of what we have estimated. We are not yet six months- we are only three months into this financial year. Our financial year starts from the first of April and not from the first of January.”
In reply to another question, al-Baker said Qatar Airways will have more aircraft in its fleet with FIFA liveries.
At a ceremony held at the Hamad International Airport yesterday, Qatar Airways unveiled to the media, a specially-branded Boeing 777 aircraft painted in FIFA livery.
Qatar Airways is an “Official Partner” and the “Official Airline of FIFA”.
The bespoke aircraft, which features distinctive FIFA branding, later flew to Moscow just in time for the tournament’s semi-final and final matches in the Russian capital and in St Petersburg.
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