Qatar jumps to Qantas defence as partnership looms

Qatar jumps to Qantas defence as partnership looms
By admin

Qantas’ prospective Middle East partner Qatar Airways has thrown its weight behind Alan Joyce and squarely blamed unions for the airline’s woes.

As the carrier’s prepare for talks next week over a strategic alliance – revealed in Travel Today yesterday – Qatar chief executive Akbar Al Baker insisted he retained faith in Qantas management and argued that every carrier endures difficult periods.

Unions must take their share of the blame for actions that threatened to “destroy” the airline, he said.

“You have a good guy running the airline in my opinion,” Al Baker told Travel Today. “The issue in Australia and in many other countries is that unions don’t always serve the best interests of their members.

“People have to be flexible. What happens when Qantas collapses? Will the unions be able to provide all these thousands of people with jobs? I am not against unions. What I am against is when people become so excessive they start to destroy the entity that is providing their members with a livelihood.”

“Every airline has its good and bad days. I have been chief executive for 15 years and Qatar didn’t always have good times. But it doesn’t mean you close the doors. This is business.”

The comments came as Qatar emerged as the likely partner for Qantas as it seeks to increase its reach into Europe.

Senior executives of both airlines will meet in Sydney next with Al Baker flagging the prospect of “joint flights” with codesharing on domestic and international flights high on the agenda.

Meanwhile, Al Baker said it will introduce the 787 Deamliber to Perth when daily services start on December 2.

Qatar is expected to take delivery of five 787s this year with Doha-London the first route to see the aircraft.

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