This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
ME3, the three big airlines in the Middle East (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar), have long been in disagreement with US carriers, as they continue to expand their routes into the US. Because of Open Skies policies, international carriers now have more access to the US than ever before. By allowing more routes and, therefore, more competition for the US airlines, there is some obvious tension between the traditional domestic carriers and “subsidized” international carriers, especially the three largest carriers in the Middle East.
Specifically, Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker is known for his controversial remarks. In the past, he’s taken both direct stabs at other airlines, like calling Delta CEO Richard Anderson unpatriotic, weak and unethical, as well as subtle stabs like launching flights to unprofitable routes — seemingly just for the sake of doing so.
Al Baker’s latest move is a combination of the two. At ITB Berlin, Qatar announced it was launching 14 new routes, including a route to Atlanta from its Doha hub — as well as the longest flight in the world, among a few others. The new Atlanta route doesn’t make much sense considering that Atlanta isn’t a big hub for any Oneworld carrier and is a hub of rival Delta, meaning there’s no possibility for connecting flights for Qatar. In his reasoning for the route, Al Baker said it’s in an effort to “rub salt in the wounds of Delta.”
With the remarks, Al Baker is really starting to push his luck with the US carriers, specifically Delta. As ME3 continues their expansion into the US, the US carriers are making moves of their own. Just recently, Delta and United pulled their routes out of Dubai. But with their move, US-based travelers might not be missing out on much (at least from an in-flight comfort perspective), as the service in general tends to be much better on international carriers, specifically ME3.
Overall, Al Baker’s remark was arguably not a smart move, but will Qatar really benefit from establishing this route that may very well not be very profitable for the airline? Most likely, that’s not the case. This seems to be just another tale in the ongoing feud between ME3 and US-based carriers, specifically Delta.
What do you think about Al Baker and his most recent comment?
H/T: One Mile at a Time
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards