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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Qataris renew boycott calls against Qatar Airways

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A wave of discontent with Qatar Airways has gathered steam on Twitter and in Qatar over the past week, as what started out as anger at a Civil Aviation Authority decision to block a competing airline’s promotion has escalated into a boycott campaign.

In an open letter to the national carrier, Qatari Abdulla Al-Kuwari outlined the main grievances of the campaign: the targeting of nationals by charging higher ticket prices in a monopolized market; indiscretion in serving alcohol in‐flight; and underemployment of Qatari pilots and employees regardless of their qualifications.

A full list of demands, including a call for prayer space, discounted prices and incentives for nationals to work for the airline, is circulating the net in Twitition form.

Notably, the airline was the target of a boycott campaign following the introduction of pork sales by QA-owned QDC into Qatar last month. 

But for much longer than that, nationals have expressed a general sentiment of alienation by the airline, half of whose shares are owned by Qatar, and a lack of acknowledgment of its identity.

In an opinion piece published in today’s Al Arab, translated into English, Mariam Al Saad calls on the government to probe Qatar Airways:

Don’t we all strive that our national carrier gets all the attention? Of course, that’s our endeavor in normal circumstances when the carrier is a true national, not a commercial monopoly that empties the pockets of citizens, fires them and treat them as if they were pampered non-productive labor force!

We demand that transparency & administrative control of the newly formulated government body to subject Qatar airways to audit & scrutiny to supervise their resources, expenditure and disbursement aspects.

For its part, Qatar Airways has said it adheres to a global standard, that direct flights are always more expensive than indirect flights and that its business model has nothing to do with nationality.

And critics of the boycott campaign say Qataris are being unfair to the airline.

The Peninsula reports:

Travel trade sources, however, said that Qatar Airways’ fares are a bit high because its services are ‘five-star.’ Even a commentator who joined the issue with the campaigners decried their drive saying that Qatar Airways is the world’s second best airline and being targeted for the wrong reasons.

We’ll keep you posted as the story unravels.

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