SYDNEY Feb 7 Qatar Airways Chief Executive
Akbar Al Baker on Tuesday said he expected U.S. President Donald
Trump would eventually relax a travel ban targeting seven
predominantly Muslim countries, New Zealand media reported.
The travel ban, Trump's most controversial act since taking
office last month, was halted temporarily on Friday following a
ruling by a U.S. judge, but it affected some of the airline's
Al Baker said he expected Trump's business talent would
prevail when it came to trade between the U.S. and Gulf
"I think we still need to give him some time to see how it
is to run a superpower country," Al Baker told media in New
Zealand, according to a Fairfax Media report.
He was speaking after the airline launched one of the
world's longest flights from Doha to Auckland.
"I'm sure he will realise in the long run that the Gulf
countries are contributing hugely to the economy of the United
Al Baker has previously appeared at events with Trump and
last year described him as "a friend" to CNN.
"President Trump is trying to protect the interests of his
country the same way I am trying to protect the interests of my
country and my airline," Al Baker said on Tuesday.
On Jan. 27, Trump suspended the entry of nationals from
Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and all
The ban caught the airline industry off guard, with some
carriers forced to re-roster flight crew.
(Reporting by Jamie Freed)