Transportation

Trump will change mind on Muslims: Qatar Airways CEO

Share
VIDEO3:1103:11
Qatar Airways adds US flights

Qatar Airways will expand service in the United States wherever it is needed, and is not concerned about a possible Donald Trump presidency, its CEO said Tuesday.

The presumptive GOP nominee has called to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S. However, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker believes Trump only said that for political gain.

"I don't think Trump means what he says. He does not realize that he has a lot of investment in Muslim countries and at the same time there is a very huge Muslim population in the United States," he said in an interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell."

"Like all politicians, he says everything but once he gets elected, he will change his mind."

The Middle East–based airline is growing rapidly in the United States, with its latest route between Atlanta and Doha set to take off June 1. The move has ruffled the feathers of some U.S. carriers like Delta, which is based in Atlanta.


Donald J. Trump attends a campaign rally in Florida on October 23, 2015.
Donald Trump is 'dangerous': Clinton advisor Jake Sullivan
File photo: Travelers form a long security check line that is extended out of departure lounge at Los Angeles airport.
Senators to Airlines: Drop bag fees to shorten airport lines
The Etihad First Apartment
Air rage is 4 times more likely when you get on this plane

However, Al Baker said, "We are here to do business. We are not here to challenge anybody."

He also disputed allegations made by U.S. airlines that Qatar Airways received subsidies to drive down ticket prices.

"We have provided all information that [the U.S. government] needs to prove that this is ill-founded allegations and that we are not subsidized or depending on any subsidy from anybody," said Al Baker.

And he's not letting his detractors stop the airline's growth, pointing out that the business is allowed to operate in the United States under the Open Skies agreement.

"We will go wherever we have opportunity. Wherever we feel that there is business for us. Wherever we feel that the people require high-class services that Qatar Airways provides. We will go there," he said.

— Reuters contributed to this report.