The carrier blames the pandemic, the liquidation of the shares of Air Italy and the boycott of the Gulf neighbors for having almost doubled the losses.
Qatar Airways has received approximately $ 2 billion in state aid to resist the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has experienced significant annual losses after enduring one of its “hardest years”.
Qatar’s state carrier said the combination of the pandemic, a boycott by Gulf neighbors, and the liquidation of 49% -owned Air Italy – which announced its bankruptcy in February – resulted in nearly doubling losses .
This brought the carrier’s net loss for the year at the end of March to 7 billion riyals ($ 1
“Qatar Airways is familiar with exceptional challenges; however, 2019-20 was one of the most difficult years in the airline’s history, “the carrier said in a statement.
The airline confirmed that Qatar has joined a list of governments that have stepped in to support their domestic carriers by stopping the coronavirus, which has affected global travel and the aviation industry.
The carrier will issue 730 million shares to the government after receiving “an advance of 7.3 billion riyals” ($ 2 billion) after annual losses exceeded 50 percent of the share capital, it said in its annual report.
“Had it not been for the exceptional circumstances of fiscal 2020, our results would have been better than the previous year,” said the airline’s chief executive, Akbar al-Baker.
The report also states that over the 12 months, revenues increased by 6.5% to 51.1 billion riyals ($ 14 billion), seat capacity increased by 3.2%, and freight transport increased. 2.8%.
The coronavirus pandemic has halted global aviation for months, which has only begun to recover. The true impact of the pandemic on Qatar Airways is unclear as global lockdowns continued after its financial year ended in March.
The pandemic has exacerbated an already difficult environment for Qatar Airways.
Since mid-2017, the airline has been banned from the airspace of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt after those countries imposed a land, sea and air blockade, forcing it to fly longer routes.
Qatar Airways is the second largest airline in the Middle East after Emirates, based in Dubai, and operates a modern fleet of 250 aircraft, although some remain grounded during the pandemic.
In July, Qatar won a ruling in the International Court of Justice in its fight against airspace restrictions by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.
He said he will seek $ 5 billion in compensation from Arab states for closing their airspace to the flag carrier.