Qatar Airways boss makes plea for open skies

Some countries are retreating from the open skies philosophy, he says
The boss of Qatar Airways has accused western countries of targeting certain airlines and countries by denying them open skies arrangements.
Speaking at the Capa Acte Global Summit in Amsterdam last week, group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said he believed countries around the world were retreating from the open skies philosophy.
Some airlines are being worse affected than others, he added, depending on where they are based.
“In my opinion there’s been a huge protectionist tendency that’s now coming into place and not just the US. The same is happening in many other countries; Europe is the second example,” Al Baker said.
“What is really worrying me is that I am fine when it comes to dealing with everybody fairly, but when you target the Gulf carriers, Asean and Turkey for this kind of negotiation it very much proves people like myself and [Air Asia chief executive] Tony [Fernandes] are being targeted.”
But those countries that are still engaging in open negotiations with airlines are reaping the benefits as a result, he said.
“Countries that are actually opening up to us see that aviation plays an important part and they are now looking at tourism as one of the big drivers in economic development and job creation.”
Some airlines accusing others of being subsidised hugely by governments should learn to cooperate better, he added, citing successes achieved by Qantas and Emirates as well as Qatar’s own relationship with IAG.
“We’re benefitting from each other,” he said. “I’m really very open and we feel cooperation will help each other and we can exchange passengers with one another.”
TTG Digital