Qatar Airlines will launch its first route to Montreal on 29-Jun-2011 and hopes to secure daily landing rights into the city, according to CEO Akbar Al Baker (Arabian Business, 05-May-2011). Qatar Airways plans to “muscle in on national carrier Air Canada’s long-haul market”, the CEO said, adding “I think [Canada] is currently underserved, a lot of passengers are going through the USA because there are not enough airlines [offering] international flights out of Canada unless you want to go by Air Canada.” Rival Gulf carriers Etihad and Emirates were both denied new landing slots in Nov-2010 by the Canadian government. Mr Al Baker said the protectionist attitude towards Gulf carriers displayed by Canada is a detriment to consumers.
Qatar Airways: “I think that Emirates request for additional rights to Canada is legitimate. Qatar Airways will be asking for additional flights because, quite simply, there is a protectionist tendency towards Air Canada … I think it is in the interests of the travelling public for Canada to have competition of high quality airlines like us and Emirates … I think once there is a new government in Canada that they will look at it in a more favourable and more business-like atmosphere.” Akbar Al Baker, CEO. Source: Arabian Business, 05-May-2011.