Qatar Airways CEO says business has gotten better, not worse, with Trump in office

  • Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said his airline's US business has improved since the Trump Administration took office mainly because of services cuts by his rivals.
  • Al Baker doesn't believe the Trump Administration's stricter immigration policies will affect the travel habits of his customer base.
  • The airline CEO also doesn't believe President Donald Trump's rhetoric indicates he wants the US to be isolationist.

Qatar Airways has had its fair share of business and political problems over the past year. However, its US business is doing just fine according to the airline's CEO.

In fact, not only has its US business not softened, Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker claims his airline's US business has actually increased.

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13 best airlines in the world in 2018
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13 best airlines in the world in 2018

13. Wizz Air — 7.95. The budget Hungarian airline is reliable for being on time with an 88% on-time performance score, although a 6 on quality of service brought it down in the ranking.

12. Norwegian — 8. With a solid 8 for service and 8.61 for claim processing, the airline which boasts the world's longest low-cost route from London to Singapore came in at 12 for its well-rounded experience.

See what it's like to fly on Norwegian here.

11. KLM — 8.01. The Netherlands' Royal Dutch Airline has a good on-time performance of 85%, as well as a decent 7.54 for claim processing and 8 for service.

10. Virgin Atlantic — 8.04. The UK's Virgin Atlantic also scored well all around, with another 8 for service, 7.95 for claim processing, and 82% for punctuality.

9. Air Malta — 8.09. This lesser-known airline is incredibly efficient at processing claims with a score of 9.13 and pretty reliable for being on time at 86%, brought down only slightly by a service score of 7.

8. Qantas — 8.12. You can expect a punctual flight on Qantas — which now flies non-stop from Perth, Australia to London — with a rating of 89%, as well as an 8 for service.

See what the food is like on the nonstop Perth to London flight here.

7. Aegean Airlines — 8.19. This Greek airline is punctual with a score of 90%, as well as a surprisingly solid service score of 8.

6. Austrian Airlines — 8.25. Another impressive claim processing score comes from Austria's airline, which also scored an 8 for quality of service.

5. South African Airways — 8.31. The 8.69 claim processing score, 8 on service, and 85% on-time performance put South Africa's airline in fifth place.

See what it's like to fly business class on South African Airways here.

4. Singapore Airlines — 8.33. Set to launch the longest flight in the world at 19 hours from Singapore to New York, it's lucky Singapore's airline offers a full 10/10 for quality of service, as well as 85% on-time performance. Only its claim processing score — 6.77 — brought it down to fourth place this year.

See what it's like to fly first class on Singapore here.

3. Etihad Airways — 8.43. The UAE's Etihad is constantly named among the best airlines in the world, and with a score of 9 on service, 86% for punctuality, and 7.47 for claim processing, it's easy to see why.

Here's what it's like to take a $10,000 flight on Etihad Airways' First Class.

2. Lufthansa — 8.57. The German airline came in second place thanks to its score of 10 for service and 8.63 for claim processing, beat out only due to it 76% punctuality score.

See what it's like to take a £4,500 first class flight on Lufthansa here.

1. Qatar Airways — 9.07. The best airline in the world, according to the AirHelp Score, is Qatar Airways, which landed a perfect 10 for quality of service, an 8.86 claim processing score, and an 89% on-time performance score.

See what it's like to fly first class on the best airline in the world here.

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"On the contrary, our traffic from the United States is growing because our adversaries next door are cutting traffic into the US," Al Baker said to Business Insider in reference to United Arab Emirates-based Etihad's and Emirates' decision to reduce US flights. 

While fellow Middle Eastern powerhouse Emirates has complained about falling passenger figures due to the US Government's toughened stance on immigration, the Qatari CEO seems unfazed by President Donald Trump's tough talk. 

"You should not forget that the United States has a huge diaspora of people from our region and they have to travel," Al Baker explained. "So, whatever President Trump says, people will still want to travel in and out of the US."

The outspoken CEO who, in the past, has made his fair share of controversial statements believes the tangible effects of Trump's immigration policies will only affect a smaller percentage of his customer base.

"The only people that will hesitate to leave America are people who are there on refugee visas or extended education visas who are from the countries that President Trump has announced will not be given visas," Al Baker told us. 

"Other than that, the diaspora who is already there with green cards or with nationalities, but have their roots in our region, will continue to travel."

In addition, the Qatar Airways CEO said that his airline's role in the tourism industry falls within President Trump's "Buy American" initiative.

"When you're talking about "Buy American," then you also need to promote tourism to your country," Al Baker said. "And how will the tourists go? They won't go by swimming across the Atlantic right? They have to fly."

Al Baker said this leads him to believe that, in spite of Trump's sharp rhetoric about immigrants and immigration, the President doesn't actually want to close America's borders to foreigners. 

"I don't think the statements that are coming from President Trump really (means) he wants to close to doors on the United States," the airline boss explained. 

"In this regard, I'm still positive that the traffic flow in and out of the US will continue."

The Trump Administration has been criticised over the past year for its zealous immigration enforcement and anti-immigrant sentiment. 

This includes President Trump's plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border and the separation of migrant children from their families at the border. 

In an interview with The Sun, Trump told the UK newspaper that has had a negative effect on Europe's culture.

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SEE ALSO: Qatar Airways CEO just gave an ominous warning to those who cave to pressure from Qatar's enemies and shun the country

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