Qatar Airways CEO tells why it invested in China Southern
01/29/2019|9:25:35 AM|YiCai Global

Qatar Airways has no plans to raise its shareholding in China Southern Airlines after a taking 5% stake earlier this month, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar AI Baker said.

This cooperation is still quite preliminary as they have just begun to explore the possibility of further partnership in code sharing and point swapping, Al Baker told Yicai Global.

China Southern has a large network of routes in China and limited international routes, while Qatar Airways is the opposite. Its global routes can complement China Southern's network, above all in the Middle East and Africa, he believes.

Al Baker was very happy when China Southern withdrew from SkyTeam at the end of last year. Qatar Airways itself is also experiencing problems in its own Oneworld airline alliance and began to mull ending its Oneworld membership from January 1 to resolve disagreements with other members that hinder its development. It plans to pull out if other members still regard it as a second-rank player, compete with and resist it, Al Baker advised. It must notify the association 12 months before it decides to leave based on its legal and contractual obligations, he added.

Middle Eastern airlines have wooed international customers away from direct flights via their signature transfers. Their governments, airports and airlines are resorting to every means to build transit hubs. About 80% of the world's population lives within a six-hour flight of Qatar, data show.

Ever more Chinese tourists are traveling to Doha since Qatar started exempting visas for citizens of 80 countries -- including China -- in August 2017. The ranks of Chinese visiting Qatar grew 68% in the past four months over the same time last year.

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