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Al-Baker: Qatar Airways will report a 'very large loss'

The airline had a profit of $541m in the 2016 fiscal year.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways will report a "very large loss" because of a regional political dispute that has slapped restrictions on the airline, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

The Qatari airline lost access to 18 cities in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, and Bahrain when those countries imposed a blockade on Qatar last June.

"We will announce a very large loss during the current financial year which ends this month," al-Baker said, without giving further details."

Blockade effect

The restrictions, which include a ban on using airspace over the four countries, are "putting financial strain" on Qatar Airways, Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker told reporters at the ITB travel fair in Berlin.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE were popular routes for Qatar Airways. The airspace ban means that, for many flights to the west and south of the Gulf, the airline has to fly longer routes around the four countries, which requires more fuel and increases costs.

In the previous fiscal year, Qatar Airways announced 1.97bn Qatari riyals ($541m) in profits.

Al-Baker has previously warned that Qatar Airways would make a loss, but had declined to disclose how significant it would be.

Financial disclosure

The government of Qatar agreed in January that Qatar Airways would release detailed financial information to the US government, as part of a response to accusations by US airlines that Gulf carriers had been illegally state-subsidized.

Qatar Airways has denied the allegations and Baker has said the release of the data would have no effect on the airline.

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