DALLAS — The CEO of the Qatari national airline, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, will step down from his position on November 5, 2023, after serving in that role for 27 years. This unexpected resignation has caught the aviation industry by surprise.
In a letter to Qatar Airways (QR) employees, Mr. Al Baker expressed his sincere appreciation for the trust and confidence they have bestowed upon him throughout his tenure. The details of the new CEO appointment are yet to be revealed.
Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer will take up the reins as the new Group Chief Executive for the airline.
Al Baker’s Governance at Qatar
After completing his studies in Economy and Commerce, Mr. Al Baker assumed the role of CEO at QR in 1997. During that time, QR was a small regional carrier with only four aircraft in its fleet. Today, the Qatari flag carrier has emerged as a major airline with one of the largest and most modern fleets in the industry. Operating over 200 aircraft, including cargo, QR is now a global aviation powerhouse that serves more than 130 destinations from its hub at Doha Hamad International Airport (DOH).
Under Mr. Al Baker’s leadership, QR made significant advancements by placing orders for numerous new-generation Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft. He is also credited with introducing the innovative Qsuite in 2017, which enhanced onboard comfort for passengers.
In addition to these achievements, Mr. Al Baker skillfully managed operations during challenging times such as the 2008 crisis, the Qatar diplomatic crisis, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.
End of an Era
Mr. Al Baker’s legacy is not only limited to QR but also encompasses his dedication to his country and the aviation field as a whole. He gained recognition for his involvement in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and is known as one of the most outspoken CEOs in the airline industry.
Moreover, he emphasized that his focus was on the legacy his country would leave behind in the aviation industry rather than his personal legacy at QR His leadership and vision have undoubtedly shaped the trajectory of the airline and left a lasting impact on the commercial aviation industry.
The announcement of his resignation has come as a surprise, as there has been no official statement from the airline or Qatari officials regarding this decision. Furthermore, Mr. Al Baker has not disclosed the reasons behind his departure from the CEO position.
Featured image: Qatar Airways