I personally believe haphazard expansion is a problem at QR. I personally believe they have too diversied of a fleet. I would speculate Y class loyalty is not a root cause.
1. QR do nothing haphazard, specially with the blocade. Nor do EK.
Do not conflate the ME3 nor project negative assumptions on their economy, all economic indicators are green & above the OECD's - important.
2. The blocade however did turn tables on QR, with many NBs & WBs grounded that used to serve the UAE & Saudi Arabia. Prior to that, they were all needed, QR knew exactly what they were doing & even used WB's from LA. People are unaware of the reasons behind the blocade, no need to elaborate on them here, save to say that the State of Qatar was not cautious enough : a small country has to mind their bigger neighbours. Georgia vis-á-vis Russia or Panama vis-a-vis the USA come to mind. So they made a political fault and the coalition is dead set on making them pay. The ME3 are a political, economic, financial & tourism tool in the hands of their respective governments like nowhere else, save perhaps SQ, and CX in their prime.
3. QR are even more integrated to Qatar's economy than EK are to DUbai or way behind EY to Abu Dhabi. QR cannot be analyzed by narrow Wall Street cannons, it is a core profit generating company within the state of Qatar, in that respect quite profitable when all externalities are factored in : they drive what little diversification & premium tourism Qatar have ( hotels, residences and the like ), all World map positions Qatar were crowned for with upcoming world events ( World cup, etc. ). Without QR, that would never have happened, never mind Al-Jazeera & all the gas they produce - ask Bahrein.
4. AAB just announced QR had become the world's first cargo airline, I assume that if this isn't true, it must be close & that EK would denounce it but hasn't. Either way, no small feat with EK next door, EY are no small player either as Abu Dhabi is economically more diversified than Dubai.
5. Indeed, Y pax have little loyalty. For instance, QR are the preferred ME3 airline used by the Chinese to fly comfortably dirt cheap to Europe, simply because they are systematically cheaper than EK.
6. This seems to be partly due to the fact that QR are believed to have the lowest operating costs of all ME3 ( TK's may be lower still ). QR's strategy is to foster traffic through lower Y fares while luring J pax with industry-leading proprietary Qsuites & better exclusive lounge service to make up for the former. EK not only have prime-mover advantages QR cannot compete with ( Dubai as a connecting point, the A380 aura, better IFE, a more diversified Skywards, etc etc ), EK charge a premium QR cannot : in the eyes of Y pax, QR are just a good FSC, whereas EK/Dubai are some Disneyland/Vegas in themselves all in one.
7. I keep repeating here that bottom-line profits or losses are mere accounting results, often window-dressed, not an economic result. One has to see further up in the books where the money was alloted. QR are a huge cash-flow generating machine. Other than the reasons stated by AAB, take out for instance all the investments QR have made in other OW stock and their finances will instantly look hundreds of millions better, but economically & politically weaker. QR are buying their way into the World, thanks to increased influence in a few selected legacies. With time however, as China is indeed downsizing the role of Hong Kong & CX in favour of both Shanghai/MU & Canton/CZ, not to mention that Shenzhen/ZH (184 frames) are on the rise, CX may look like a bad investment in the future depending on how HK's unforeseen situation develops. No one is immune from unforeseen circumstances, Enron, Blockbuster, Kodak, Nokia all bit the dust because they didn't adapt. The ME3 all adapt fast, QR is adapting fast to nefarious neighbours. EY did courageous & strategic moves sound at the time, that these backfired splendidly afterwards is an ex-post reality, no one expected AB or 9W to go under. Same for Airbus & the A380 or Boeing with the 748i, though some did foresee it. While the ME3 follow a similar global business model, they are actually very different animals, and so are TK : their fleet differences show different strategies, QR's strategy is closer to TK's than EK's.
8. Air Italy posted a loss, apparently not so much because of operational losses but because of one-time capital-high investments, massive route openings & changes, i.e. their bottom-line next year should look better next year.
Just to say that companies like QR must be judged in periods of 5 to 10 years, not yearly, to see how well or badly they are doing. The bottom-line is only one metric, important for shareholders & stock options, but says little of how a company is actually performing. It's like analyzing a household's way of life by looking at what is left of their money at month's end : in between they may or not have bought a car, paid tuition, got a PhD, travelled, invested, paid massive hospital bills, who knows, even the Rothchilds could spend all their money within a month or a year & yet post a result deep in the red - is that a loss ?
So what is $632 million as a loss ? Big money for sure, yet no more than say 3 A350 at negociated prices. QR can stomach that no problem for a few years if need be given the circumstances. In fact, they are growing faster & fatter than EK, discount that this year's millions in % growth and the bill is actually lower.