Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker Apologizes For Controversial ‘Granny Flight Attendants’ Comments


Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker issued a written apology for controversial comments he made during a conference that U.S. carriers ‘are crap and their flight attendants are grandmothers’.

Al Bakers comments prompted all sorts of reactions but mostly criticism around the world and must have decided better put this matter to rest in a formal way.

John wrote about the entire situation last week (see his article here).

Al Baker sent the following letter to the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) apologizing for his comments:

Download (PDF, 277KB)

Specifically, Al Baker said:

… For the cabin crew serving aboard all air carriers, professionalism, skill and dedication are the qualities that matter. I was wrong to imply that other factors, like age, are relevant. …

Or course I highly doubt that these are his true sentiments but at the same time it’s easy to realize that from time to time it’s more useful to issue a half hearted apology.


Mr. Al Baker could have certainly used more tactful words but he is known to be outspoken and to fight back with full force. Given the smear campaign that is currently going on in the U.S. against Middle Eastern carriers I actually can’t blame him entirely for his comments and neither do I believe that this episode will be the last.

At the same time I wonder if he had been urged by some higher ups in Qatar to put this matter to rest while the country is trying to sort our their current diplomatic issues .