Akbar Al Baker is an Indian-born Qatari businessman who is the Group CEO of Qatar Airways. He was also the Chairman of Qatar Tourism until October 22, 2023. Under Qatar Airways Group, Al-Baker was also the CEO of Hamad International Airport, which opened in 2014. In May 2021, Al-Baker was appointed chairman of the Oneworld airline alliance.
Who is Akbar Al Baker?
Al-Baker was born in Mumbai, India. As a child, he studied at St. Peter’s School, a boarding school, in the Panchgani Hills in Maharashtra, India. He later moved to Mumbai and graduated from Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics. He holds a private pilot licence.
Career of Akbar Al Baker
Al-Baker became chief executive officer of Qatar Airways in 1997. Prior to this appointment, he worked at the Civil Aviation Directorate of Qatar. He is also the former chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority. He is CEO of several divisions of Qatar’s national airline, including Qatar Executive, Qatar Airways Holidays, Qatar Aviation Services, Qatar Duty Free Company, Doha International Airport, Internal Media Services, Qatar Distribution Company, and Qatar Aircraft Catering Company.
Al-Baker led the development of Hamad International Airport, which opened its first phase in May 2014 and is now home to Qatar Airways. As of 2017, the airport services all inbound and outbound flights out of Doha.
In June 2019, Al Baker announced that Qatar Airways would be buying a stake in a sixth overseas airline before the end of the year. The company has not yet been named but would join the airline interests of the International Airlines Group, LATAM Airlines Group, Cathay Pacific, and China Southern Airlines Co.
Al-Baker is a member of the Executive Committee of the Arab Air Carriers’ Organisation, a member of the Board of Governors of the International Air Transport Association, and a non-executive director of Heathrow Airport Holdings.
In May 2021, Al-Baker was appointed to the role of Governing Board Chairman of the Oneworld Alliance.
In October 2023, Al Baker announced that he would be stepping down as CEO of Qatar Airways. The resignation will take effect on November 5, 2023. This comes after 27 years with Qatar Airways. His announcement came just one day after he was replaced as chairman of Qatar Tourism by his protege, Saad bin Ali Al Kharji, who previously served as vice chair under Al-Baker.
Cotroversies of Akbar Al Baker
In 2015, it was reported that Qatar Airways told its female flight attendants that they could lose their jobs if they were pregnant.
On 26 August 2015, Qatar airways updated its policy on marriage and pregnancy for its female cabin crew. In June, after the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) report on Qatar to change its employment rules to end discrimination, Qatar Airways has loosened its restrictions prohibiting female cabin crew from getting married and having children.
Pregnant women will now be provided temporary ground jobs under the new contract and they can get married whenever they choose as long as they notify the company.
In May 2016, The Daily Telegraph reported that Al Baker said backpackers were not welcome in Qatar because they “are just there to lie on the beach and spend as little as possible” and the country wanted to “attract people of higher standard”.
In July 2017, in a speech at a dinner in Ireland, Al Baker said US airlines were “crap” and their passengers were “always being served by grandmothers”. He stated that the average age of Qatar Airways cabin crew was 26. He later said that his remarks might not reflect his “true sentiments about cabin crew”.
On June 5, 2018, speaking at a press conference following his election to chairman of the International Air Transport Association at the association’s annual meeting in Sydney, Australia, he told reporters that, regarding Qatar Airways’ management, “Of course it has to be led by a man because it is a very challenging position.” Although Al-Baker later apologized, he stopped short of recanting his belief that being CEO of an international airline is too challenging a job for a woman. He claimed he was attempting to make a joke at the time.
Net worth of Akbar Al Baker
The estimated net worth of Akbar Al Baker is approximately $5 million. Akbar Al Baker is the Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways.