Dubai ATM: Qatar Airways CEO: "We will support and work with Riyadh Air"

There is enough of business available for everyone, according to Akbar Al Baker, the airline's group CEO and chairman of Qatar Tourism.

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The CEO of Qatar Airways today expressed his company's commitment to working with and supporting Riyadh Air, stressing that there is enough business to go around for everyone.

Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker declared his firm was "excited for" Riyadh Air on the first day of the annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai. Riyadh Air was officially unveiled last month. A successful airline cannot be built using a "cut-and-paste" technique, he continued.

Al Baker claimed that when he took over as CEO of the Doha-based airline in 1997, his objective was to expand it to 35 aircraft and 35 destinations, but the company was initially overlooked because Gulf Air and Emirates already occupied the top two spots. The company currently operates 260 aeroplanes, travelling to 177 locations. The goal posts are always moved when they are reached at Qatar Airways.

He told journalists, "There is a lot of business out there for everyone; it will always be how you manage your organisation, what kind of leadership you have."

"You can always go after individuals and take good people from airlines and recruit them, but expecting you will imitate what existed at that airline doesn't happen. Only effective leadership, tenacity, vision, and, of course, cooperation can make it happen.

If you don't have a vision, you can still get support. In a business, all of this is crucial. You might have a vision, but you don't have a plan for how to get there. You cannot simply copy and paste another person's plan into your own.

As he put it, "One thing I can say is that we are very excited for Riyadh Air, we wish them all the best, and we will cooperate and support them because we believe that relationships matter and there is plenty of business to go around for everyone."

Under the auspices of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is currently working to diversify its economy with an emphasis on the rapid growth of non-oil industries, including tourism, with the goal of increasing the sector's contribution to the GDP to 10% and luring 100 million visitors.

A six-runway mega airport master plan for Riyadh was proposed by the kingdom last year, and Riyadh Air was publicly launched last month.

expansion of Qatar Airways

Al Baker claimed that the airline has successfully rehired 95% of those who had been fired during the COVID-19 outbreak, and that there are already plans in place for more pilot and cabin crew hiring.

With the introduction of Boeing 787 aircraft this year, the airline's existing network of 177 destinations may grow to 190, he added, noting that the firm was also purchasing "a large number of aircraft" but declining to specify how many.

At the press conference, Al Baker announced the addition of eight new airline destinations as well as the restart of 12 others, including Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.

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