Qatar Airways engages in 'war of words' with American airlines

Indo Asian News Service

Dubai, April 24 (IANS) Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker said here on Monday that American Airlines, Delta and the United Airlines were not representing the American people, but only themselves.

Al-Baker made the remarks on the opening day of the 24th Tourism Fair Arabian Travel Market (ATM), in the latest "war of words" between Gulf carriers and the US airlines for years over getting "unfair" discounted jet fuel from their oil-exporting governments.

"The three American carriers do not represent the US, but they only represent themselves. We create jobs in the US by buying American aircraft and will continue to expand our network in America", Xinhua news agency quoted Al-Baker as saying.

Qatar Airways flies from its home airport in Doha, the capital of Qatar, to 15 destinations in the US. Al-Baker announced that he will add Las Vegas and San Francisco in 2017/2018.

He said the ban introduced to carry electronic devices bigger than smartphones for passengers flying out of many Arab states, including Qatar, had only a "minor impact" on passenger demand for Qatar Airways.

Personal laptops and tablet computers have been banned for six months from March 21 on direct flights to the US from 10 airports in eight countries of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey and Morocco.

Emirates last Wednesday said it will cut down on the number of flights to five of the 12 cities in the US starting May 1 following US laptop and tablet ban on six Middle Eastern countries.

In a joint statement on April 19, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines called Emirates' decision "laughable".

In order to keep affluent and loyal clients aboard, the "Big Three" Gulf airlines started to loan laptops and tablets for first and business class passengers on direct flights from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Hamad International airports to the US.

--IANS

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