Akbar Al Baker, who helmed Qatar Airways for 25 years as CEO, to step down

Akbar Al Baker, the chief executive officer of Qatar Airways, will step down from his post after helming the state-run carrier for 25 years.

Baker has conveyed to his staff that he will leave his post on November 5, Bloomberg quoted aviation consultant Alex Macheras who posted on social media platform X.

According to a Reuters report, Badr al Meer will be appointed the new CEO of Qatar Airways after Baker steps down. Al Meer is currently the chief operating officer of Doha’s Hamad international airport, according to the airport’s website.

Akbar Al Baker has retired as CEO of Qatar Airways.(Reuters file)
Akbar Al Baker has retired as CEO of Qatar Airways.(Reuters file)

Here are five things you need to know about Baker, who built Qatar Airways into a leading air carrier.

1. According to the airline’s website, Baker is a graduate in Economics and Commerce and worked at various levels in the Civil Aviation Directorate before taking over as Qatar Airways CEO in 1997.

2. He holds a private pilot license and is also CEO of several divisions of Qatar’s national airline – including Qatar Executive, Hamad International Airport, Qatar Aviation Services, Qatar Aircraft Catering Company, Qatar Distribution Company, Qatar Duty Free and Internal Media Services.

3. Al Baker built Qatar Airways into a long-distance powerhouse challenging Gulf rival Emirates. His devotion to delivering a premium experience won plaudits from customers but led to clashes with manufacturers Airbus SE and Boeing Co, Bloomberg reported.

4. Al Baker went to court with Airbus over an issue with flaking paint on widebody A350 jets. The matter was settled earlier this year.

5. He also courted controversy with comments at a 2018 event that a woman could not do his job “because it is a very challenging position.” Baker’s retirement has been anticipated for several years but he has always said he would step down when he was asked to.

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