What a difference a few weeks make. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker gave an interview where he was skeptical about the seriousness of the novel coronavirus, and annoyed at the inconvenience to aviation. “You don’t block aviation just because there is something in the air but it’s really not a scientific fact” he said.
“During the incubation period, they say that this virus can be transmitted. There is no scientific evidence for that. It is just, you know, a fear factor,” the controversial airline chief said in an interview with Bloomberg.
“For them to do what they did to the Chinese cabin crew … whoever goes to China cannot now go anywhere else in these countries for the next 14 days. They don’t realize the operational impact it would create on an airline,” Baker said.
“What evidence [do] you have that on every single airplane you do not have three or four people with contagious disease sitting next to you?”
WATCH: Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker doubts the existence of #coronavirus that has already reached 126 countries and territories, infecting more than 132,000 people worldwide. Video posted by MBC reporter @Awad_alfayadh.https://t.co/zh0OBl2FWZ pic.twitter.com/gcm3eFGMOO
— Arab News (@arabnews) March 13, 2020
Update: Qatar Airways offers the following statement,
Alongside all airlines, Qatar Airways is taking significant steps to combat the COVID-19 virus and ensure the safety and wellbeing of our passengers and employees. Like everyone, we have watched the developments over the five weeks since this interview and the increasing scientific knowledge around COVID-19. We have also supported our friends in China with the delivery of hundreds of tonnes of medical equipment to assist their fight against the virus.
(HT: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)