All-business Qatar A319 part of ‘secret plan’: chief

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Qatar Airways’ decision to deploy a narrowbody for its sixth daily Doha-Heathrow service is part of a “secret plan”, says chief executive Akbar Al Baker.

The Qatari flag carrier launched the service with an Airbus A319, configured as an all-business 40-seater, on 15 May.

Briefing journalists in Doha on 18 May, Al Baker acknowledged that as a member of Heathrow airport’s board he is “always pushing for the runway capacity to be increased and people to bring bigger airplanes”, but he adds, in reference to the new narrowbody service: “There is a secret behind it which I would not like to tell you… I have a plan.”

Probed as to how the airline might redeploy the Heathrow slot, Al Baker responds: “I didn’t say what I would do with the slots. You asked me why I’m using this aeroplane and I said I have a secret plan.”

He adds: “You know that everybody who did this business-jet concept in a commercial way failed. So if I’m doing it and planning to fail, I must be stupid.”

On when his “secret plan” might be elucidated, Al Baker would only say: “You will see.”