Etihad and Qatar losing money: Qantas boss

Guest Writer

The boss of Australian flag carrier Qantas has cited the fiercely competitive Middle East market in which key airlines are losing money as a key reason he is not concerned by the Etihad Airways alliance withVirgin Blue. “Etihad is losing a lot of money, Qatar is losing a lot of money,” said Alan Joyce. “So any extra capacity in there is always going to be a struggle and we were very comfortable with our partners.”He noted that Qantas was offered a deal with Etihad before the airline approached Virgin Blue, but “the numbers didn’t stack up”.”[Etihad was] very keen for a closer relationship,” he said.”But when we decided that we weren’t going down that path, that’s when they made a decision to actually approach Virgin.”Joyce also revealed the airline was offered the opportunity to fly into Abu Dhabi but the competitiveness of that market made the proposal unattractive.Joyce was speaking after Etihad and Virgin Blue were last week given interim approval to cooperate on joint pricing and scheduling by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).Despite rejecting Etihad’s alliance proposals, Qantas had asked the ACCC to block the Virgin deal.”In terms of our deal with Etihad, we saw that deal as limited because we have our own operation into London and we’ve got a great relationship with British Airways,” said Joyce.”The economics of it did not stand up for us and we very much looked at our relationship with British Airways and our relationship with Air France, which is the way we service the European markets, as being very key to us.”

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