Qatar Airways head calls for more landing rights

MONTREAL — The head of Qatar Airways says Canadians deserve better airline service to the Middle East made possible by an expansion of the number of landing rights granted to Doha.

MONTREAL — The head of Qatar Airways says Canadians deserve better airline service to the Middle East made possible by an expansion of the number of landing rights granted to Doha.

“Qatar is of course interested in forging even closer ties with Canada but we are struggling with being granted additional landing rights,” Akbar Al Baker said in a speech Thursday to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations.

“You Canadians deserve that. It clearly shows the need for more flights. More access! More capacity and more frequency drive greater competition and have only positive economic impact for the benefit of both countries.”

Already, the three weekly flights launched last June are running ahead of expectations and travelling 85 per cent full.

A similar number of cargo flights are offered weekly, along with return flights from the Middle East.

The outspoken chief executive said that additional flights can easily be accommodated to reduce flying time to 113 destinations through its gateway.

He said the more than 6,000 Canadians living in the Middle Eastern country, along with visitors, can bypass intense American security by increasingly flying to Doha.

“You don’t need to travel over American inefficient, complicated and security over reacting airports,” Al Baker said.

“You don’t want every Canadian to be looked at as a terrorist and go through unnecessary searches. We can offer you a better alternative passing through Doha but only on one condition after giving us more flights.”

Al Baker added that Qatar’s expansion efforts are not designed to undermine Air Canada (TSX:AC.B), which has vocally opposed any additional flights from Middle Eastern-based rivals.

The Canadian carrier has complained that the partially state-owned Middle Eastern carriers benefit from an unfair advantage.

“Air Canada should not get worried of competition. Competition makes other airlines very strong,” he said.

Montreal is Qatar’s fourth North American gateway, in addition to Houston, New York and Washington.

Return travel costs around $2,300, including taxes, for direct 13-hour flights. That’s several hundred dollars more than traditional routes through Europe but at a fraction of the time.

Qatar’s business jet service operates six Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) aircraft — three Global 5000s and three Challenger 605. It also operates a service centre for Bombardier business aircraft.

Bombardier CEO Pierre Beaudoin later said the company is still in discussion with Qatar over a CSeries order. The potential order is for an undisclosed number of business jets.

“It’s a product that gives the performance that is needed in that region,” he told reporters after the speech.

Beaudoin added that the train maker is also interested in metro, light rail and tramway projects in Qatar.

Just Posted

Innisfail woman facing fraud charges

RCMP allege woman stole more than $54,000

July’s storm season means tornado sightings in central Alberta

The deadly Pine Lake Tornado was 19 years ago this month

Harris blasts, and takes money from, Epstein’s law firm

WASHINGTON — Kamala Harris bemoaned the influence of the powerful and connected… Continue reading

Ponoka man dies following motorcycle crash

Ponoka RCMP continue to investigate

Visitors flock to Bluebird Festival

Annual festival takes place east of Blackfalds

Churches jump into action with threat of immigration sweeps

CHICAGO — As a nationwide immigration crackdown loomed, religious leaders across the… Continue reading

Some in GOP rebuke Trump, but party leaders still silent

WASHINGTON — Top Republicans remained largely silent after President Donald Trump said… Continue reading

Final blast of torrential rains unleashed by weakened Barry

NEW ORLEANS — Tropical Depression Barry spared New Orleans from catastrophic flooding,… Continue reading

Evidence erased by police would have freed wrongfully convicted man: defence lawyer

HALIFAX — A defence lawyer who fought to free Glen Assoun from… Continue reading

Global concern grows over Canada’s funding of fight against AIDS, TB, malaria

OTTAWA — International concern is growing in medical and development circles that… Continue reading

You don’t feel alientated, Trudeau tells western Canadians

National unity is not being threatened by the federal government’s attack on… Continue reading

Your Ward News editor hate trial could be re-opened; judge delays sentencing

TORONTO — A convicted hatemonger who maintains his defence lawyer deliberately threw… Continue reading

NATO secretary general meets Trudeau in Canada amid Russia, U.S.-Iran tensions

PETAWAWA, Ont. — In a visit to an Ottawa Valley military base… Continue reading

Most Read