British Airways CEO Willie Walsh stated he believes it will be difficult for Etihad Airways, Emirates and Qatar Airways to all establish global aviation hubs in the Middle East (Arabian Business, 01-Sep-2010). He believes Qatar Airways and Emirates have a lead over Eithad, with the next five years crucial for which carrier will emerge as the dominate Middle East hub airline.
British Airways: “It is going to be difficult to see all three establish genuine global positions … There is a good argument to be made for two of those maybe…Doha [is] likely to achieve its goal… The other one is likely to be Emirates [and] Etihad clearly has ambitions for that as well. If I was to rate them I think Emirates and Qatar have a slight lead over Etihad in terms of developing their global hub strategy and global network…The next five years will really tell and I know all of the major European hub operators are watching developments in the Middle East with great interest as clearly the carriers in the Middle East are looking to attract some of the customers that we currently serve and serve them over Middle Eastern hubs,” Willie Walsh, CEO. Source: Arabian Business, 01-Sep-2010.