Akbar al Baker: The Powerhouse of Aviation at Qatar Airways

Akbar al Baker: The Powerhouse of Aviation at Qatar Airways
Photo Credit: James Field/AviationSource
James Field - Editor in Chief 5 Min Read
5 Min Read

Today’s big news in the aviation world was the departure of HE Akbar al Baker, the powerhouse of aviation leading Qatar Airways for 27 years. Let’s take a look back at his tenure.

He has helped lead the airline for all but two years of the airline’s overall lifespan, transforming the way air travel works not just in the country, but around the world.

Without further ado, let’s get into it…

Recap on The Departure of Akbar al Baker…

Akbar al Baker: The Powerhouse of Aviation at Qatar Airways
World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways Group, is set to relinquish his role on November 5, 2023, marking the end of a remarkable 27-year tenure at the helm of one of the world’s leading airlines.

It is understood that a new appointee to the lead role will be announced by the Qatari government soon.

As per The Times of India, this was revealed via a letter sent to employees at the airline:

“After 27 years of service, I am writing to you to announce that I will step down from the Qatar Airways Group”.

“In 1996, with a fleet of just five aircraft, unwavering dedication, and a loyal and passionate team, together we embarked on a remarkable journey to aviation excellence”.

“From that very first day, our journey has been nothing short of extraordinary”.

Akbar al Baker continued on by thanking his employees for his support over this long period of time and remained hopeful about what is in store next for the airline.

Where Qatar Airways Is Now…

Akbar al Baker: The Powerhouse of Aviation at Qatar Airways
Photo Credit: James Field/AviationSource


As Qatar Airways GCEO Akbar al Baker mentions, he joined the airline 27 years ago, following the handover from previous CEO Sheikh Hamad Bin Ali Bin Jabor Al Thani.

At that time, the airline only had five aircraft in the fleet, and was starting out with Airbus A310 and Boeing 747SP aircraft.

He has come a long way since those says many years ago. As per data from Planespotters.net, the airline has a fleet of 253 aircraft, of which 240 are in active service and 13 are currently parked.

al Baker was able to propel the airline from a small number of routes to serving over 160 destinations across the globe, providing significant competition against the likes of Emirates, Etihad & others.

From dealing with the financial crisis of 2008, to handling the COVID-19 pandemic, and even going on the warpath against Airbus over surface erosion, he has been through it all and has brought the airline to the other side.

Despite all of the volatilities within the world over the last 27 years, Qatar Airways continues to push ahead in its plans for overall growth.

What Does This Mean for the Airline Moving Forward?

Photo Credit: Kyle Hayes/AviationSource

Whoever is due to become the successor of Qatar Airways to replace Akbar al Baker, the outgoing CEO has left behind security for the future.

On the fleet perspective, the airline has the Boeing 737 MAX and 777X on the way for growth and also for renewal as well as it’s aircraft get older.

The carrier has also made a series of route announcements over the course of this year, which will see them ready to hit the short-term with the continued momentum that he will leave behind.

Either way, this will be a big change for the airline as whoever comes in as the new CEO, will need to decide whether to emulate some of Akbar al Baker’s strategy or go for something completely new in approach.

With the likes of Riyadh Air entering the scene & SAUDIA exploding in growth, to Emirates wanting to consolidate the Middle East market further, and Etihad recovering significantly, all eyes will be on this new incoming CEO to see what tricks they have up their sleeve.

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