25 MAY 2015
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The increasingly nasty quarrel between the three major US international airlines, American, Delta and United and the Gulf carriers has found Qatar Airways boss Akbar Al Baker facing up to the American’s head-on in Washington.
Always combative Mr Al Baker has been in charge of the state-owned airline for all but two of 21 years. During his visit last week he found time to see Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.
Al Baker points out that no US carrier flies to Qatar, and no US airline competes with Qatar Airways on any non-stop market. "US carriers demonstrate little interest" in serving the Gulf and South Asia markets, which are a key focus in Qatar's network. He called the allegations by the three US carriers a "bullying tactic".
Meanwhile, the US government's investigation is finally getting into gear. "We're taking this very seriously; we want all parties to take it seriously," said Thomas Engle, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation at the State Department, at the Phoenix International Aviation Symposium on 8 May. "We're trying to balance the need for a prompt decision... with the need to do a good job”.
Boeing, who sells aircraft to both sides of the argument, is keeping quiet. www.qatarairways.com https://skyharbor.com/symposium
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