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Qatar Airways Chief: Delta CEO Has “Weak Personality”

Qatar Airways Chief: Delta CEO Has “Weak Personality”
Joe Cortez

Akbar Al Baker

Outspoken Qatar Airways chief executive plans to “open the books” during an upcoming trip, with the legacy airlines refuting the claims.

The leader of Qatar Airways claims he’s ready to prove that his airline did not take illegal subsidies and is willing to “open the books” to do so. Al Arabiya News reports Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker is planning a trip to the United States, with the intent of confronting the American legacy carriers accusations.

At the Arabian Travel Market conference, Al Baker made his feelings about Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson clear. “He has in my opinion a weak personality, and he is only hiding behind all this nonsense, misleading his government in a big way,” Al Baker told the meeting, according to Al Arabiya News. The comments mirror previous statements made by Al Baker, when he accused Delta of flying sub-par aircraft.

In April, the United States Government launched an investigation into the “Middle East Three” – Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways – allegedly receiving $42 billion in illegal subsidies from their governments. The investigation was spurred by a study from the American legacy carriers, lead by Anderson and the chief executives of American Airlines and United Airlines.

“I am going to open the books and confront them,” Al Baker told the meeting about his upcoming trip to the United States. The Qatar executive also added that a full response to the allegations could take up to two years to complete.

In response, Delta downplayed Al Baker’s comments at the Arabian Travel Market conference. “We aren’t interested in name calling,” a spokesperson for the airline told Al Arabiya News. “What we are interested in is a resolution to one of the greatest trade imbalances in U.S. history – one that threatens U.S. jobs.” The Partnership for Fair and Open Skies, a consortium of the American legacy carriers and trade unions, expressed similar feelings.

“Akbar Al Baker said he was coming to the U.S. to ‘open the books,’ but all we heard today was more name calling and denials,” Jill Zuckman, spokesperson for the Partnership, said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate that he won’t answer serious questions about the $17.5 billion in subsidies and unfair benefits that Qatar Airways has taken from its government in order to undermine fair competition.”

[Photo: AP]

View Comments (3)

3 Comments

  1. starflyer

    May 14, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Delta CEO probably has lack of integrity. Look at all the customer unfriendly changes made to SkyMiles, often with no advance notice. And at the same time that Delta was claiming to be the best in class frequent flyer program while delivering something closer to the worst.

  2. edgewood49

    May 14, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Anderson has chewed off much more than he can possibly chew. As far as “lost” jobs, just who does he think will service those airplanes. handle bags, ticket counter club rooms ? As for the FA’s and pilot’s I would be interested to see the nationality breakdown as on the flights that I have taken it appeared that upwards to 30 or 40% consistently American!

  3. rgdave

    May 14, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Maybe rather than spending millions on lawyers and lobbyists, the legacy carriers and trade unions should put their collective heads and money together to come up with a plan to deliver a world class airline product that passengers want to fly because they LOVE it and not just because their companies tell them to because of corporate contracts, or because they’re so locked in to achieving platinum, diamond or premier or whatever status to avoid the misery of flying coach without status on domestic routes at any cost.

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