Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker stated the carrier has no plans to launch an LCC, stating it plans to continue with its "quality" product and image (Gulf Times, 26-Nov-2010). The carrier previously indicated it could launch an LCC unit within 90 days of a decision, if it felt LCCs were impinging on its market.
Qatar Airways has no LCC plans
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Qatar Airways and Vueling to codeshare as LCC partnerships establish new models
Partnerships of any kind between Europe's principal LCCs and full service airlines are rare. The new codeshare between Qatar Airways and Vueling builds on the interline deal signed between the two in Oct-2014. Moreover, it marks a further deepening of the relationship between the Doha-based super connector and IAG, of which it now owns 20%. Vueling joins IAG-owned airline British Airways in codesharing with Qatar Airways, but the new agreement is more extensive.
Vueling is now carrying Qatar Airways' QR code on 67 European routes. These routes are from/to Barcelona El Prat and Rome Fiumicino, which are Vueling's two biggest bases, and both served twice daily by Qatar Airways from Doha. The accord significantly expands Qatar's offline network, but the value of this and two-stop connections is difficult to gauge.
Gulf airlines in 2017: Etihad cuts capacity 4% as Emirates and Qatar begin slowest growth in 5 years
For the first time in over a decade, a Gulf superconnector airline will reduce its annual capacity. Etihad is forecast to cut ASKs by 4% in 2017. Emirates and Qatar Airways will have their slowest growth expansion in a decade, but in terms of net capacity addition 2017's production increase is the slowest in about five years.
Etihad is contracting in all regions except Western Europe and Australia in 2017. The largest cuts will be in South America, North America and Southeast Asia, although this does not necessarily correlate to regional profitability. Despite the reduction Etihad's frequencies will be up 1% in 2017, mostly in Western Europe and South Asia.
Etihad has announced plans to reduce staff members, which it says will be largely through attrition. As it contracts instead of growing, its aircraft commitments – and in particular 787s – may be cancelled or deferred. Etihad's partnership with Lufthansa will result in its airberlin burden being reduced. Etihad may look to sell down European investment airlines, according to unconfirmed press reports.
Yet as Etihad recalibrates under a changed Abu Dhabi government, Qatar Airways continues to grow.