Qatar Airways sees 'manageable' decline in US flights

The airline now holds the title of World's Best Business Class as awarded by Skytrax in 2016, and its Doha hub, HIA was also recently given five stars at the Skytrax World Airport Awards and was ranked Sixth Best Airport in the World.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker said in a press conference that "the three American carriers (American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines) do not represent the US, but they only represent themselves".

Meridiana would operate as a full-service carrier to destinations in Europe and beyond, al-Baker said, with the airline taking delivery of 20 Boeing 737 MAXs from the second quarter of 2018.

Fellow Gulf carrier Emirates said last week it was cutting flights on five U.S. routes after restrictions imposed by President Donald Trump's administration weakened demand from the Middle East.

Qatar Airways was named "Best Regional Middle East/Africa Airline" in Money magazine's 2017 "Best in Travel" and was named runner-up for the title of "Best Overall International Airline".

Qatar Airways will also apply with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) for a domestic Indian airline operating licence in the next few weeks, al-Baker said.

"We didn't have massive decline like other carriers so we still have robust loads to the United States and we will continue our commitment to our passengers in the United States", Al Baker said.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive went on to say: "Equally, we know that Dublin will prove a popular destination for the people of Qatar".

The airline has seen "some decline" in passenger demand on USA routes, but he said this was manageable.

Speaking to reporters at the Arabian Travel Market convention in Dubai, Al Baker said Qatar Airways is planning to launch a new route to Las Vegas possibly as early as next year.

Al Baker also expressed hope that Trump would resist pressure from American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines to block aggressive expansion into the USA market by Gulf-based carriers.

The three USA carriers have lobbied the US government to investigate claims the Middle East rivals have received billions of dollars in state aid, which those airlines deny. "President Trump is a wise individual and a very good businessman, and I don't think he will buy into bullying by the three American carriers", Baker said.

  • Joanne Flowers