Qatar Airways, Turkey strengthen bilateral relations with new operations
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker recently announced that they would expand their operations in Turkey thanks to solid bilateral relations between Turkey and Qatar. “Turkey has become a major destination for people in my country, and we will open two more destinations to Turkey in June,” al-Baker told a group of journalists at the Eurasia Airshow, Turkey’s largest aviation event currently taking place in the southern province of Antalya. “We currently fly to five destinations in Turkey and this figure will increase to seven when we open our new routes to Antalya and Bodrum in June,” al-Baker said, while adding that their weekly flights will increase to 41 after adding the two new destinations.
Al-Baker also said they will start promoting Qatar in Turkey to attract more Turkish visitors. “Turkey is well promoted in Qatar but Qatar is not aggressively promoted in Turkey and we will start to do that. We will start advertising in Turkey. The people of Qatar really appreciate that Turkey has stood shoulder to shoulder with us during this very difficult time,” he said.
Despite the challenge, Qatar Airways has sought new alternatives and expanded its travel network with new international partnerships. The company recently announced that they became Air Italy’s new shareholder and also signed other agreement with JetBlue Airways in the US. In addition, Qatar Airways owns stakes in several airlines, including Cathay Pacific and British Airways-parent International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG). However, al-Baker said they are not planning to invest in Turkish Airlines. Responding to a question regarding whether they plan to cooperate with Turkish Airlines, al-Baker said cooperation is technically not possible since the two airlines are part of different alliances, though he did say they might expand their ongoing cooperation with Turkish Technic.