Oneworld announced late Thursday that the always entertaining CEO of Qatar Airways, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, will be the next Governing Board Chairman.
The position has been held by the CEO of Qantas, Mr. Alan Joyce since 2018. Mr. Akbar Al Baker has threatened to leave the alliance several times since the airline joined in 2013.
Here’s the press release from Oneworld:
oneworld names Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker as Governing Board Chairman
The Governing Board of the oneworld® Alliance has appointed Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker as Chairman.
He succeeds Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, who had served in the role since September 2018.
As Chairman of the oneworld Governing Board, H.E. Mr Al Baker will oversee the alliance’s governance, chair oneworld’s Governing Board meetings and work closely with oneworld CEO Rob Gurney and the alliance’s management team.
Having led Qatar Airways since its launch in 1997, H.E. Mr Al Baker is the longest-serving CEO of a oneworld member airline. Under his leadership, Qatar Airways has grown into one of the world’s most highly-awarded airlines with an extensive global network, with plans to serve over 140 destinations by end of July 2021. Qatar Airways became a member of oneworld in October 2013.
An influential figure in the global aviation industry, H.E. Mr Al Baker served as Chairman of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Board of Governors from June 2018 to June 2019. He has served on IATA’s Board of Governors since 2012. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Arab Air Carriers Organisation and a non-executive Director of Heathrow Airport Holdings. In addition, he serves as Secretary-General of Qatar National Tourism Council.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker, said: “I am honoured to have been chosen by my fellow board members to head the oneworld alliance Governing Board at a time when the industry is facing its biggest challenge. To represent and lead the oneworld alliance is a tremendous privilege, and I am grateful for the opportunity to represent an alliance that has played a pivotal role in maintaining global connectivity to support the transportation of essential workers, medical equipment and aid supplies throughout the pandemic.
“I look forward to serving as Chairman of the Governing Board and working with our alliance partners, oneworld CEO Rob Gurney and the oneworld team to provide more global connectivity, a seamless travel experience and more valuable loyalty offerings for our passengers.”
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “As a founding member of oneworld, it has been an honour to serve as the Chairman of the alliance. Akbar is well placed to guide oneworld on its ongoing transformation and we look forward to working with him and member airlines to deliver even more value to oneworld customers.”
oneworld CEO Rob Gurney said: “On behalf of the alliance, we want to thank Mr Joyce for his leadership of oneworld, including during a challenging period for the industry. Since Qatar Airways joined oneworld in 2013, it has been a leading contributor to the alliance and we are honoured to have His Excellency Mr Al Baker serve as our next Governing Board Chairman. We look forward to working with him to further strengthen and grow the alliance, as we position oneworld for an industry recovery.”
Famous Akbar Al Baker Moments:
He was most recently in April trashing British Airways:
Called American Airlines flight attendants grannies in 2017:
Threatened to the Oneworld Alliance several times:
I believe that this is a brilliant move by Oneworld Airlines to silence the always entertaining Mr. Akbar Al Baker, at least for the duration of his tenure as the Governing Board Chairman.
Mr. Baker has been a significant figure in the aviation field, growing the small Doha-based airline to a true competitor to its Gulf rival of Emirates.
You can always argue that when you have the backing of the prosperous state and not necessarily run on a commercial basis, it wouldn’t be a challenge, but it is.
Qatar Airways, at least on the air and on the ground in Doha, has provided excellent service to fliers, especially those in their business class.