Qatar Airways, third force in ME carriers with Emirates, Etihad

After Emirates predicted a “storm” caused by long haul low cost carriers, its ME rival Qatar Airways says they will be destroyed.

It’s group CEO, Akbar Al Baker says airline such as Norwegian and AirAsia X will not have the necessary yields from cheap fares to cope with any significant increase in the price of oil.

He didn’t mention Qantas long haul low cost carrier Jetstar in the interview, but if he had no doubt there would have been an interesting response from the Australian airline, and business partner of Emirates, the airline Qatar Airways competes with for the aggregation of connecting traffic over a Middle East hub.

Qatar Airways had also embarked on a project to launch a very large 100 percent owned domestic operation in India.

This would operate to similar policy settings to those that applied in Australia when Virgin Blue began flying as a fully foreign owned investment by Richard Branson in 2000.

The difference between Branson’s family company investment and the Qatari group is that the latter has the money to buy the former somewhere in the vicinity of several hundred times over.

Its India ambitions are also meeting the same resistance from India’s own domestic airline players as Branson did in Australia.

Qatar Airways may have a low frequency position in the Australia market at present, with services to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth (and non-stop between Auckland and Doha) but in terms of strategic ambitions, it could soon command more interest from the Australian carriers and gateway airport owners.

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