October 8, 2018 / 3:10 PM / 2 months ago

Qatar Airways considers fuel surcharge to help return to profit

DOHA, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Qatar Airways may consider a fuel surcharge on tickets to help it return to profit amid a regional dispute and rising oil prices, Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker told Reuters on Monday.

Qatar Airways reported last month a 252 million riyal ($69 million) loss for the financial year ended March 31, citing a political dispute that has seen it banned from four Arab countries, and has suggested it could make a loss again.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, and Bahrain have all banned Qatar Airways since June 2017 as part of a dispute they have with the government of Qatar.

The airline has said it has mitigated the impact of the dispute by launching flights to new destinations, increasing flights on existing routes, and leasing aircraft to other airlines, and now hopes to return to profit in the 2018-2019 financial year.

“We hope we will be able to move to profitability in the current financial year, even though the oil prices are rising,” said Baker.

To do this, Baker said the airline might consider a fuel surcharge similar to those applied by other airlines.

Carriers including Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines have said this year they are adding a fuel surcharge to airfares as oil prices continue to rise.

“Higher oil prices will put pressure on our bottom line, but this is our business - sometimes oil is higher, “ said Baker. (Reporting by Eric Knecht; Additional reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Mark Potter)

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