Qatar Airways set for annual loss amid Saudi bockade

Qatar Airways is likely to post an annual loss after a Saudi-led blockade of its home nation forced the airline to cancel some routes and divert others, CEO Akbar Al Baker said.

The second-biggest Gulf carrier is working on substituting the 20 or so lost flights for roughly the same number of viable new routes and should then return to profitability, Al Baker said in an interview Tuesday, adding it’s too early to predict how big the loss will be. Net income at the Doha-based group rose 22 percent to 1.97 billion riyals ($525 million) in the year through March.

“It is painful because there are many routes that slide as much as 2 1/2 hours longer, and there are routes that are narrow-body routes where we had to convert to wide-body in order to carry enough fuel to go the longer distance,” the CEO said in Singapore.

All told, Qatar Airways has lost almost 11 percent of its network and 20 percent of revenue, he added.

Read more at Arabian Business

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