17 Jan 2018 – 16:22
By Alexander Cornwell / Reuters
KUWAIT: A start-up airline in the United States has offered a 25 percent stake to Qatar Airways, chief executive Akbar al-Baker said on Wednesday, providing another opportunity for the Gulf airline to broaden its reach.
Baker did not name the airline when speaking with reporters at an airshow in Kuwait.
Qatar Airways, which cannot fly to the lucrative markets of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates because of the blockade by four Arab states, late last year bought a 9.61 percent stake in Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways to help to increase traffic through its Doha hub.
Baker also expressed regret about management changes at Airbus, such as the impending department of Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier who is due to step down in February.
“I’m very sad that Fabrice (Bregier) is leaving. Fabrice is a very good administrator. He is a very good engineer and he is a very good friend so I am very sad that he is leaving and I think by doing all these changes Airbus is going into unchartered waters,” Baker said.
He said Airbus still had to deliver 120 aircraft to Qatar Airways so these changes were a concern to him.
Qatar Airways is one of Airbus’ biggest customers. Airbus did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Baker’s remarks.