The airline claims losses suffered are much lower than rival nations had planned for.

Qatar Airways has revealed that the Saudi-led siege has left a far lesser impact than the blockading countries intended.

According to Bloomberg, the airline claims losses suffered are much lower than rival nations had planned for.

Despite Qatar facing a 15-month blockade by its Arab neighbors, the airline adopted a business-as-usual policy in the face of “aggressive action” from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, to abandon 18 destinations and divert flights to others to avoid closed airspace.

Qatar Airways losses much lower than expected

Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the disruption led to a loss of QAR 252 million (US$69 million) in the 12 months through March, compared with a QAR 2.79 billion riyal profit in fiscal 2017.

The CEO said Qatar Airways hasn’t been cowed by the “turbulent year” and is continuing to add routes, strike new partnerships and invest in foreign carriers.

“I am pleased to say that thanks to our robust business planning, swift actions in the face of the crisis, our passenger-focused solutions and dedicated staff, the impact has been minimized, and has certainly not been as negative as our neighboring countries may have hoped for,” he said.

Bloomberg reports that the state-owned airline’s passenger tally fell 9 percent to 29.2 million in the period, while operating expenses rose 15 percent to QAR 42.2 billion, partly as a result of flights having to divert their routes.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in June, 2017. The blockading nations accused the country of supporting terrorism and forging close ties with Iran, a charge the Qatari government has repeatedly denied.

Qatar Airways hasn’t allowed the Saudi-led siege to affects its growth. The firm continues to invest in airlines around the world and is also looking at a strong year ahead, including a major expansion in India.

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Author

Ahmed Naser is a UK-based journalist with a deep understanding of the Middle East. Ahmed is a contributor to a wide range of regional publications in the Middle East. He works across print and digital media as a freelance editor and writer.

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