Qatar plunges further into debt – blames blockade and fuel prices

©Qatar Airways

Having posted a net loss for the financial year 2018 of US$69 million, Gulf carrier Qatar Airways has posted a net loss of US$639 for the full year 2019. The explanation provided for such a financially disastrous performance involved high fuel costs, foreign exchange fluctuations, and the airspace blockade involving neighboring countries.

The United Arab Emirates, which was a key market for the Gulf carrier, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, have enforced an economic boycott of Qatar since June 2017. This means that Qatar airways has to fly further on many routes to avoid certain airspace, impacting heavily on its fuel bill. The blockade also means it has had to forego previously profitable and popular markets, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

It has not all been bad news for the carrier; it has managed to increase passenger revenue by 14.3% with a capacity (ATK) growth of 13.5%.  Cargo revenue saw growth of 16.8% with cargo capacity (available ton kilometers) growing 11.8% annually. Executive jet revenue also witnessed substantial growth of 18.4% compared to 2018.

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