Qatar chief stresses Saudi unit's full-service credentials

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Qatar Airways' new Saudi subsidiary Al Maha will not be a low-cost carrier, the Doha-based carrier's chief executive has emphasised.

"Al Maha is a full-service airline that will operate internally in Saudi Arabia between primary and secondary cities," said Akbar Al Baker at the ITB travel trade show in Berlin on 5 March.

"I have stated many, many times, over and over again, that we will only launch a low-cost carrier if we see our market share being eroded by the entry of low-cost carriers into our markets," adds Al Baker. "This has not happened, so Qatar Airways does not intend to launch a low-cost for the time being."

Al Baker raises the possibility that Al Maha's initial narrowbody fleet may be supplemented with Airbus A330 widebodies should demand for the carrier's short-haul services require them.

Al Maha Airways is scheduled to launch in the second half of this year.