Qatar Airways braces for annual losses once again

Qatar Airways braces for annual losses once again
Qatar Airways Airbus A350
Published: 19 January 2020 - 5 a.m.

Qatar Airways is expecting to post annual losses for the third year running when its financial year concludes at the end of March, amid an ongoing boycott by Arab countries restricting its flights.

Chief executive Akbar Al Baker explained to reporters at a media briefing last week that the airline was feeling the impact of high fuel prices, a tough global economic climate, currency volatility and geopolitical factors in the region.

Mr Al Baker said the expected losses were a result of the Doha-based airline’s operating expenses, The National reported.

Qatar Airways reported record losses for the fiscal year in 2018.

The state-owned carrier widened its net loss in 2018 to 2.3 billion Qatari riyals (Dh2.32bn), compared to 252.5 million Qatari riyals a year earlier. The nearly ten-fold rise in annual losses outpaced the 14% increase in full-year revenues of 48 billion riyals.

At the time, Mr Al Baker said the carrier faced a "challenging year" and the "disappointing" financial results were attributable to "the loss of mature routes, higher fuel costs and foreign exchange fluctuations”.

Qatar Airways is grappling with a boycott by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, who severed economic ties with the Gulf state in June 2017. The dispute resulted in airspace closures over the four countries for Qatar Airways, forcing it to slash routes and take longer flight diversions, which increased fuel costs and flight times.

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