`Difficult times for for budget airlines’

June 18th, 2008 - 12:04 am ICT by IANS  

Kozhikode, June 17 (IANS) Budget carriers will find it difficult to survive with fuel prices and airport charges going up, an airline official said Tuesday. “The low cost model will not survive,” Akbar Al Baker, chief executive officer of Qatar Airways, said, adding that his company at present has no plans to launch a budget airline.

“However, if we see a low cost airline evolving in our region and our market share is eroded, we can launch a budget airline in 90 days,” he added.

The airline had launched its daily Doha-Kozhikode service Monday.

Qatar Airways currently operates 58 flights a week from Doha to nine cities in India, including three destinations in Kerala.

Al Baker said the airline plans to take the delivery of its third Boeing 777 aircraft this summer. This will be followed by fleet expansion programme over the next few years with an average of one aircraft being added every month.

He said the airline in partnership with Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Shell International Petroleum had been conducting research on using gas-to-kerosene hybrid fuel for its aircraft.

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