Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said he agreed with the aviation industry’s expectations that passenger demand would not return to pre-pandemic 2019 levels until 2024, a year later than the period many initially anticipated.
Al-Baker called – today, Tuesday, in a webinar hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce, according to Reuters – to reopen the borders in a safe way so that people can fly again, and warned that more airlines will need government assistance this year to avoid bankruptcy.
Akbar Al-Baker said Qatar Airways would emerge from the Coronavirus crisis as a major global airline.
He added that the outlook for the current year is overly optimistic, expecting a slower than expected demand.
Al-Baker said that the national carrier, which will operate more than 1,200 flights per week to more than 140 destinations this summer, is in a position to emerge from the crisis “very strong”, partly because competitors will go into bankruptcy.
He added, “The growth opportunities are huge … after the pandemic, Qatar Airways will be one of the major airlines in the world.”