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Qatar Airways looks carefully at planned EU fair competition clauses

Qatar Airways looks carefully at planned EU fair competition clauses

The European Commission said last year it wanted to seek Europe-wide air traffic agreements

Qatar Airways expect talks with the European Union on new air traffic services agreements will take several years, and Qatar will focus on ensuring the EU’s planned fair competition clauses do not disadvantage the carrier, its CEO said.

“We’re still in the early days of negotiating with the EU, and one area of particular notice is fair competition clauses,” chief executive Akbar Al Baker told the CAPA Global Summit in Amsterdam.

“We expect we will spend quite a bit of time exploring what this means, we want to make sure it is not biased,” he said.

The European Commission said last year it wanted to seek Europe-wide air traffic agreements with a number of countries including China, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.

It said it would look to include fair competition provisions and would also consider measures to address unfair practices outside the bloc.

Such agreements, at the moment often done on a bilateral basis, would set out where and how often foreign airlines could fly into the EU, and vice versa.

Al Baker said while he welcomed the EU talks, which he hoped would open up markets fully to Qatar Airways, he was concerned that protectionist tendencies were coming through.

“I am fine when it comes to dealing with everybody fairly, but when you target the Gulf carriers, ASEAN, Turkey, it proves that people like myself are being targeted,” he told the conference.

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