Gulf dispute will ‘leave a lasting wound,’ Qatar Airways CEO says
“People will not forget” about the crisis that has embroiled the GCC over the past few weeks, even when it’s over, the head of Qatar Airways has said.
Speaking at the Paris Air Show yesterday, Akbar Al Baker hit out at his Gulf neighbors, telling AP that the ongoing dispute “will leave a lasting wound.”
Two weeks ago, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar.
Qatar’s neighbors also shuttered Qatar Airways offices and airlines in their countries, and carriers from there have stopped flying to Doha.
The crisis has made travel in and around the GCC more difficult, as well as complicated the lives of thousands of people who live and work in the region.
However, in a separate interview with Reuters yesterday, Al Baker said recent events will not stop Qatar Airways from pursuing its growth strategy.
“We are not going to defer any of our aircraft … We are continuing our aircraft deliveries at the same pace as we are contractually obligated to do,” he said.
He also called on US President Donald Trump to intervene to help lift what he called an illegal blockade.
The CEO’s comments come shortly after Qatar Airways unveiled a new commercial extolling travel “beyond borders and prejudice.”
The short advertisement features scenes of travelers in various landscapes, greeting friends and family, with a voiceover asserting that “travel teaches compassion” and is a “right for all.”
It makes no direct mention of the Gulf dispute, but alludes to it by saying:
“It is a right for all of us to go where we need to go, to feel the things we want to feel, to see the people we want to see. That’s why we’ll continue to fly the skies, providing you with everything we can and treating everyone how they deserve to be treated.”
It concludes, “It’s a strange thing for us to be apart. Qatar Airways: Going places together.”