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  • Date of publication: 27 September 2020
  • 138
  • Qatar Airways announces $1.9 billion in losses due to pandemic and boycott


    Qatar Airways, reports a $1.9 billion loss of revenue over the past year, accusing the Coronavirus Pandemic of major losses, the elimination of Air Italy shares and the continuing boycott of Doha by four Arab countries.

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On Sunday, Qatar Airways reported revenue losses of $1.9 billion over the past year, blaming the Coronavirus Pandemic, the elimination of Air Italy shares and the continuing boycott of Doha by four Arab countries.

Qatar, the richest country in energy, was scheduled to raise $2 billion to support the state airline at the end of the fiscal year on March 31, according to its annual report. The operator also blamed the new accounting rules for an additional increase in losses for the past fiscal year.

"If not for the exceptional circumstances of fiscal year 2020, our results would have been better than the year before", said in a statement by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker. The airline carried 32.3 million passengers last fiscal year, up from 29.4 million in the previous year.

But Qatar Airways is in the same position as its competitors Emirates and Etihad Gulf long-haul airlines, reducing thousands of jobs and trying to expand its network as travel restrictions are lifted worldwide. This is because demand for airline tickets remains low due to concerns about a virus that has damaged international travel.

Qatar Airways, which operates about 250 aircraft from its newly built Hamad International Airport in Doha, follows the model of other Persian Gulf carriers, connecting East and West from its location on the Arabian Peninsula. But lower demand has led the airline to suspend the use of its two-story Airbus A380, "as the use of such a large aircraft in the current market is not commercially or environmentally viable," the airline said in a statement.

The Coronavirus Pandemic has stopped the world aviation for several months, which has just begun to gain momentum. Qatar has also been boycotted by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates since June 2017. This boycott continues today, despite the efforts of other Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and the U.S. to reconcile the countries involved in the political dispute.

Al-Baker said Qatar Airways has transported more than 2 million passengers and more than 250,000 tons of medicines and aid to areas affected by the coronavirus since the pandemic.

"I am absolutely confident that Qatar Airways Group will grow stronger after this difficult period and continue to innovate and set standards that our competitors can only hope to emulate," he said.

The airline was further hurt by the February collapse of Air Italy, the regional carrier in which it held a 49 percent stake when it launched in 2018. Air Italy tried to rename and become a national carrier that operates flights through Europe. Qatar Airways in its financial reports said that Air Italy alone is likely to lose about 400 million dollars.

Qatar Airways also confirmed its losses for the previous year in its financial report on Sunday, estimating them at almost 1.3 billion dollars, compared to 639 million dollars reported earlier. In 2018, it lost 69 million dollars.