DL Withdraws ATL Theatre Sponsorship Over QR’s J-Lo Concert

Open Jaw

The raging battle between DL and QR has taken another turn as ATL based DL recently withdrew its 20 yr. sponsorship of Atlanta’s Fox Theater, shortly after the theatre announced a Jennifer Lopez concert to celebrate QR’s ATL-DOH launch.

It’s not that DL has anything specific against Jennifer Lopez. The problem was the show’s sponsor. QR held the private event to celebrate its inaugural and the theatre was filled with QR executives.

DL released a statement noting disappointment with the Fox’s decision to host the concert, even after it had shared its concerns about supporting “an airline proven to engage in business practices that harm U.S. aviation jobs and violate human rights...”

The theatre, for its part, said it was “not in tune with the industry politics of our sponsors,” and lamented the end of the relationship.

The enmity between the airlines was clearly demonstrated when the QR inaugural flight landed at ATL 01JUN, only to hit another speed bump. QR chose an Airbus A380 for the flight, but when it touched down, the only gate capable of handling the massive bird was occupied - by a much smaller DL plane.

The A380 had to park on a remote stand, and its 500 pax disembarked via drive-up stairs to the tarmac. 

Leaving the airport, QR pax may have noticed one of several billboards criticizing the airline they had just flown. If not, they may have seen a full-page ad in the Atlanta Constitution-Journal with a similar message.

“I have never seen in the whole history of Qatar Airways that an airline would go to [such] low levels in undermining competition and underline it with a load of lies,” QR CEO Akbar Al Baker told a reporter from Aviation Week & Space Technology.

Seems there could be a bit of the pot calling the kettle black going on since Al Baker has denounced DL many times. At one point he was quoted saying that the new route would “rub salt in (DL’s) wounds.”

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