Qatar Airways boss takes aim at US airlines

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker has accused Delta Air Lines of flying “crap airplanes that are 35 years old”.

The CEO was responding to criticism from US carriers — Delta, American and United — that Qatar Airways, Etihad and Emirates have received $42 billion in “unfair” subsidies from their governments since 2004.

Targetting Delta boss Richard Anderson, Al Baker said the money Qatar Airways receives from its government is in the form of “legitimate” equity.

He said: “I think Mr Anderson doesn’t know the difference between equity and subsidy. We never receive any subsidy… The state of Qatar is the owner of Qatar Airways and whatever funds are put into the airline is as equity, which is quite legitimate.

“The unfortunate thing is that because they [US airlines] are so inefficient they want to blame us — while we are very efficient — for their failures and drawbacks.

“The issue is that they cannot stand the progress the Gulf carriers are making.”

Speaking at an arts conference in Doha, Al Baker added: “I am delighted that Richard Anderson of Delta is not here.

“First of all, we don’t fly crap airplanes that are 35 years old. The Qatar Airways average fleet [age] is only four years and one month. We have ultra-modern airplanes.

“We have invested, my country has invested, huge amounts to make sure we are the lowest CO2 contributor in the aviation industry.”

Al Baker’s comments mirror those made by Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan (see news, March 17). The Australian chief executive praised the open skies agreements around the world as a “model of success” and described it as “ultimately all about consumer choice”.

Graham Smith

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  • Sanjflyer23

    The battle continues between legacy carriers and the Middle East three, having flown on both the difference in inflight service and facilities are huge , I believe that legacy carriers took a back seat for a long period of time , when competition arrived they have been playing catch up ever since . Newer comfortable planes with less seats being crammed in makes for a happier consumer

  • alistairNicoll

    I am very pleased that the likes of Qatar, Emirates and Etihad serve my airport and I am wondering why Mr Al Baker has only criticized the age of the planes when in fact the reason why these airlines are cleaning up is the far superior service they offer in the air and their lounges

    The Americans – once pioneers have fallen a long way

  • Dolphin500

    I’m glad someone speaks out their mind. I’m so tired to hear North American airlines including Air Canada to blame Gulf carriers for their problems. Why CX, SQ, NH, JL flights get full faster than UA or DL?, because all US airlines are offering a very bad on board service with many members of the crew that do not have the right attitude with economy passengers and even with people in business class. Also charging for everything to those in economy on almost every international route, in fact, UA is the only US carrier that charge for the 2nd piece of luggage between US and HKG, and charge $7.99 for a mini bottle of low quality wine, adding the options of food are horrendous almost like was served directly from a movie in the correctional services. That is the reason I prefer to take one airline that offers me a full service and not one that I have to keep my wallet on the try-table to keep paying for what I need to eat or drink.
    The feeling I have when I walk into a North American airliner is like half of the plane (First and Business Class) is perfect but the other half (Economy) is just a low cost carrier behind the curtains.

  • Thocha7

    I’ve been flying with N American air lines including AC and the ME airlines since 2004 on a regular basis. ME are far superior on all aspects. In my opinion/experience N American airlines need an absolute urgent & immediate revamp/overhaul if they plan to survive. A good place to start is the attitude training, other wise they will be far too behind with ME airlines especially QR(truly 5 star service)

  • the747guy

    There is a very wise saying…… “Truth hurts!”……… US airlines are bad and their on board service, all across airlines, is TERRIBLE!
    Why would you not use the ME carriers if they give you the best for your money???