Feud between Qatar Air, Delta continues

A feud between Qatar Airways and Delta Air Lines continued Wednesday with more sniping words volleyed between the two carriers.

Qatar Airways' CEO Akbar Al Baker reportedly said the airline's launch of service to Atlanta from Doha June 1 would "rub salt in the wounds" of Delta, according to a Reuters article.

In response, the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, a coalition including Delta, American, United and airline unions, issued a statement saying Al Baker "has made it crystal clear that the subsidies his airline receives from the government of Qatar allow him to fly routes for the sake of petty peevishness rather than rational, market-based reasoning."

Delta's outgoing CEO Richard Anderson has been vocal in arguments that the Gulf carriers including Qatar Airways get subsidies that create unfair competition.

Last year Anderson told CNN: “It’s a great irony to have the United Arab Emirates from the Arabian peninsula talk about [bailouts for U.S. airlines] given the fact that our industry was really shocked by the terrorism of 9-11 which came from terrorists from the Arabian peninsula that caused us to go through a massive restructuring.”

The comment generated criticism from Al Baker and others.

Al Baker last year reportedly said of Anderson: “Let him come face to face with me in any forum... I will hang him on a wall.”

Anderson at a recent meeting of the NextGen Advisory committee joked about the feud with Al Baker.

In a discussion about the improvements to the air traffic control system, Anderson, who is retiring in May, said: "I just think it's great... I won't be around to see it."

When asked jokingly if he would still be alive to see it, Anderson smiled and said: "I don't know. It depends on Akbar. He wants to hang me."

More AJC coverage:

Barbs fly in Delta-Qatar Airways dispute

PolitiFact: Qatar Airways chief veers off course in his attack on Delta

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.