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Qatar Airways CEO calls on Trump to do 'even more' on Gulf blockade

  • The Qatar Airways CEO says a blockade affecting his country is illegal and more international pressure is needed.
  • Hong Kong's Kingboard Chemical on Monday said it agreed to sell its entire 9.6 percent stake in Cathay Pacific to Qatar Airways.

The CEO of Qatar Airways has called on President Donald Trump to do more to end an economic blockade of his country.

Qatar is locked in a dispute with neighboring countries which has curtailed airspace rights over the nation. The airline's management predicts it will swing to a full-year loss as a result of the diplomatic standoff.

Speaking at the CAPA aviation conference in Singapore, Akbar Al Baker told CNBC Tuesday that the U.S. leader must act faster.

"President Trump is trying to do more, but I think he needs to do even more because he has given an undertaking to my ruler that he will solve the problem and he will solve it soon," he said.

"And we are depending on him," Al Baker added.

The airlines boss said the U.S. had a responsibility to protect Qatar.

"We are an American ally, you have a very large American community in my country. You have important assets and interests in my country. As Americans, you should never allow such a thing to happen to my country," he said.

The CEO of Qatar Airways has said his airline is recovering quickly from the ongoing dispute with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states.

"For a CEO to lose 11 percent of the network and 20 percent of the revenue stream is really very painful," said Al Baker.

"Soon we will cover the loss of the network we had due to our blockade," he added.

Meanwhile, Qatar Airways has agreed to buy a near 10 percent stake in the Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific for $661 million, as it looks to benefit from a growing Chinese market.

The airline already owns 20 percent of International Consolidated Airlines Group, the parent of British Airways, as well as 10 percent of South America's LATAM Airlines Group and 49 percent of Italy's Meridiana.