Qatar denies plan to sell stake in Gulf Air


Qatar has no plans to sell its stake in Gulf Air even as its national carrier Qatar Airways adds new routes to its network, the airline's officials have said.

Qatar Airways officials said the airline would start flying to Kuala Lumpur, Maldives, and Jakarta from next month.

Qatar Airways' regional manager for Gulf and Pakistan, Ali Al Rais denied reports that Oman and Qatar could possibly sell their stakes in Gulf Air.

"The Qatari government wants to maintain its investments in Gulf Air and there are no plans for such a move. It is feasible for all to keep their stake in the carrier. Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Abu Dhabi each have 25 per cent stake in Gulf Air," he said.

Al Rais also said Qatar Airways' first flight to Male was scheduled for December 11 and those to Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta would start on December 17 and 20 respectively.

The airline has no plans to cut expenditure or employees due to the crisis in the global airline industry after the September 11 attacks, Al Rais said.

He said Qatar Airways was also considering buying more Airbus A380s.

Al Rais played down possibilities that the presence of many GCC national carriers could spark competition among regional airlines.

"We compete with Emirates in terms of marketing and sales but we enjoy a very strong relationship. We negotiate insurance rates, fuel and spare parts as a