During a press conference at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2023 conference in Dubai, the CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, announced that the airline has plans for rapid growth, which could see its number of destinations increase from the current 170 to over 255.
While the Gulf carrier plans to expand to 190 routes, Al Baker stated that it could add a further 85 or 90 destinations, dependent on the delivery of additional aircraft.
The airline expects Boeing and Airbus to begin delivering soon after previous delivery delays prompted conservative growth plans.
In March, Qatar Airways had an order for 73 aircraft reinstated by Airbus, which had been revoked during a legal dispute over damage to grounded A350s. Al Baker expects to begin receiving the aircraft soon. However, the airline is also experiencing delayed deliveries of Boeing 787 and 777X planes, with 787 delays attributed to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) concerns.
Welcoming Riyadh Air
Additionally, Al Baker spoke welcomed the new airline to join the industry during the Arabian Travel Market. Highlighting his enthusiasm for the eventual launch of Riyadh Air, Al Baker explained that the industry has plenty of business available for everyone and anyone to join and compete for their market share. He even emphasized how a new carrier further evens out the playing field for all players involved, as he said: “We are very excited about Riyadh Air, and we wish them all the best. Qatar Airways will cooperate and support them, because we feel that relationships matter, and there is a lot of business going around for everybody.”
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