Qatar Air `Keen' to Add Flights in Latin America

Qatar Air `Keen' to Add Flights in Latin America

Qatar Airways Ltd. plans to expand in Latin America, tapping into rising demand from Brazil and Argentina for international flights, Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al-Baker said.

“We are keen to expand in both Central and South America,” Al-Baker said in an interview yesterday in Sao Paulo. “Latin America is a sleeping economic giant. If Brazil, Argentina and Chile get together, and we measure the economics of these three countries, they are a huge powerhouse.”

Since the Doha-based state airline started a daily flight in June that goes both to Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires, average occupancy has been above 85 percent. Should the level remain high, Al-Baker said, the company will split the route and create a direct flight to each city.

Doha Port, Doha, Qatar

Doha Port, Doha, Qatar

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Most travelers from Latin America use Doha as a connecting hub for other cities served by Qatar Air and don’t have Doha as a final destination, according to Al-Baker. This suits the company’s strategy of servicing a hub that connects different regions of the world, he said.

Qatar Air remains committed to Bombardier Inc.’s CSeries regional plane, Al-Baker said, even after Airbus SAS said it would put a new engine in its single-aisle aircraft, the A320. He said the company is interested in the new plane, dubbed the A320 Neo, but not for present orders.

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