With only months to go before the opening of the new Hamad International Airport, travel agents are saying now is the perfect time for Qatar to establish a low-cost carrier (LCC).
Speaking to Al Raya, managers of several travel and tourism companies around the country said that residents could do with more choices when flying, as currently 75 percent of flights taken by residents are operated by Qatar Airways.
While the national carrier flies to nearly 130 destinations around the world, its high prices have been a long-standing issue for many residents, especially during peak travel times, like the upcoming Eid holidays.
Last year, the airline’s CEO Akbar Al Baker implied that prices remain high due to lack of competition in the domestic market, adding that Qatar Airways lowers its airfares abroad to attract customers internationally.
Establishing a domestic budget airline would not only foster much-needed competition within Doha, giving residents access to lower airfares, but could also help Qatar compete with neighboring LCCs, said Mohammed Hussein Al Mulla, chairman of Al Mulla Travel and Tourism.
Indeed, companies like the UAE-based flydubai and Air Arabia are starting to capture more of the GCC market, reports Gulf News:
Cost-conscious travelers constitute the biggest market segment of the region’s travel business and as such, low-cost carriers offering no-frills travel that suits their needs and budget have become the most preferred option for a majority.
A low-budget carrier would also attract business from the millions of passengers who are expected to transit through HIA once it opens, added Saeed Al Hajri, general manager of Ali Bin Ali Travel.
Do you think Qatar could benefit from having an LCC? Thoughts?
Credit: Photo by Richard Lee