By Daniel Hunter
Qatar Airways has issued a stark warning to airports around the world after it threatened the loss of $200 billion worth of government contracts if its planes aren't allowed to land.
It comes after the Dutch government temporarily rejected Qatar Airways' request for more landing slots. The airline's chief executive Akbar al-Baker said that companies in countries where it is denied landing slots could be prevented from bidding for lucrative Qatari government contracts.
At a press conference in the Netherlands, Mr al-Baker said: “If you don’t allow us to benefit in a small way by bringing us additional flights to the Netherlands, then you should not expect a lot of commercial contracts from our government.”
Although the message which directed specifically at the Dutch airport authorities, it will be seen as a strong message to airports around the world.
Qatar Airways is heavily supported by the country's government - hence his ability to make such threats. Airlines and airports in Europe and the US have already accused Middle Eastern airlines like Qatar Airways and Emirates of unfairly benefiting from government support - something the airlines deny.
Qatar plans to invest around $200bn in infrastructure projects over the next decade. It is one of the biggest markets for engineering and construction firms.