Qatar Airways CEO denies alliance talks with British Airways

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Akbar Al Baker – CEO Qatar Airways. Photo –

The head of Qatar Airways dismissed reports from sections of press on Monday that the fast-growing Gulf carrier is involved in talks with British Airways’ parent company to form an alliance.

CEO Akbar al-Baker labelled the talk of a deal as nothing more than “press rumours,” adding there are no negotiations ongoing with any carrier about a partnership.

“If we are talking, we will say it very openly,” he said.

BA’s longtime ally Qantas this month said it plans to end its alliance with the British carrier after Qantas signed a 10-year partnership deal with Gulf carrier Emirates.

The Financial Times reported earlier this month that BA parent International Airlines Group had held talks with carriers including Qatar Airways about an alliance focused on Asia, where Qantas has a substantial presence.

The Qatar Airways chief executive admitted he has technical issues with Boeing regarding the plane and the quality of the cabin of the new 787 Dreamliner. He did not elaborate.

A Boeing spokesman declined to comment.

Qatar Airways is an important customer for Boeing, with 30 of the fuel-efficient 787 jets on order. A 787 decked out in Qatar Airways livery appeared at this summer’s Farnborough International Airshow in Britain, but the airline has not taken delivery of any of the planes yet.

Boeing delivered the first 787 to Japan’s All Nippon Airways late last year, three years behind schedule.

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