What Does Qatar Airways’ CEO Think Of Donald Trump Now?

Filed Under: Media, Qatar

Qatar Airways’ CEO is known for being one of the most outspoken people in the airline industry. He has called Donald Trump a “good friend,” and back during the election claimed that Trump’s “Muslim ban” idea was just rhetoric, and that he wouldn’t follow through on it. Well, where does he stand now?


First let’s take a look at what he has said in the past. Going back to December 2015, Al Baker had the following to say regarding Trump, per CNN:

“I can say that the reaction as a Muslim, I have taken offense to this, and especially when it is coming out from a friend of mine,” he said. “I didn’t expect him to be so naïve to make such statements.”

The airline exec said he believes Trump was “trying to gain political mileage out of these statements.”

“[H]e is not realizing what he is mentioning is detriment (sic) to his own interests in the election,” Al Baker said. “He is also not realizing that he has investments in Muslim countries and he will not be welcome there anymore. So I think what he is saying is not in the best interests of the relationship between him and the Muslim world.”

Over time he took a softer approach, and last April he said the following, also per CNN:

“It’s all smoke and mirrors with Donald,” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told CNN on Wednesday. “Donald is a businessman — at the end of the day he will see what is in the best interest of his country.”

“I think he will be clever not to go the path that he has been beating the drums about,” Al Baker said. “It is detrimental to his own interests and detrimental to the interests in general of [the] United States.”

“I’m a businessman and I will even do business with the devil as long as it’s win-win for both,” Al Baker said.

So, how’s Al Baker feeling after Trump’s Muslim ban seven country immigration ban was implemented? He was asked about this during a recent press conference in New Zealand, following the airline launching flights to Auckland. Here’s what he had to say, per Stuff:

The chief executive of Middle Eastern airline Qatar Airways has said he has a lot in common with US President Donald Trump.

Well, at least he’s self aware…


What does he make of the ban, after earlier claiming that Trump wouldn’t implement these policies, and wouldn’t be welcome in the Middle East if he did?

“President Trump is trying to protect the interests of his country the same way I am trying to protect the interests of my country and my airline,” he said at a press conference.

“I think we still need to give him some time to see how it is to run a super-power country,” he said.

So Trump just needs more time, according to Al Baker.

Here’s the thing — regardless of how you feel about Trump, I think we can all agree he has done exactly what he said he would. There’s not really any confusion about what Trump is doing, or what his stance on things is. It’s not like he’s wishy washy, or unsure of what approach to take. So to suggest that what he needs is more time seems a bit ludicrous.

All of this comes shortly before Trump is set to meet with the CEOs of several U.S. airlines, where presumably they’ll want to discuss the role of Gulf carriers in the U.S., after the Obama administration refused to take action.

There’s one other interesting quote in the same article regarding Al Baker in New Zealand. As I’ve written about before, Al Baker claims that there’s no need for premium economy on Qatar Airways, because their economy is as good as premium economy on other airlines. He reaffirmed that during this press conference, claiming that premium economy is very uncomfortable, and he’d rather be in Qatar Airways economy:

“Frankly speaking, I have travelled in a premium economy seat on one of the competing airlines and I would have rather sat on the economic class seat of Qatar Airlines … Actually the seat was very uncomfortable. The leg rest becomes very uncomfortable on a long-haul flight.”


(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

  1. Donald Trump is a scum bag, but he is a white guy that doesnt mind pretending he is Christian. The evangelicala don’t mind their daughters being molested by him as long as they make money, while pretending to be god fearing people.

    The nut job is using government resources to further his daughters business. And the republiturds have no issue with it. Hypocritical, racist scum.

  2. Excuse me, Lucky. You mean per CNN which is Fake News. Trump’s ban of seven collapsed countries is exactly correct, and he has the authority by statute to do what he did. On the other side, Barack Insane Obama was the chaos creator.

  3. They call it MuslimBan but in fact (except Iran) in 2011 Mrs Clinton pushed Obama’s administration to impose a ban of six months on Iraqis and restriction to other nationalities which resulted de facto in a ban. For instance there was no ban on Syrians in 2011 but I know several Syrians (I live in Dubai) who could not get a chance of obtaining a US visa. Beside this I don’t know why we call it MuslimBan. A Christian Syrian would not be able to enter US as much as a Kurdish or Christian Iraqi and I know a good number of them. I don’t like Trump and I never liked him. I also don’t like bans especially on devastated populations beside the fact that US has suffered terrorist act from some nationalities but not from the banned ones. But I encourage all to look at this with different eyes because the ban is bad allright, but in three months how many refugees are affected? 5? 10? 15 thousands? How about 6.6 million refugees generated in the past eight years? I am no Trump fan but also I kind of dislike hypocrisy. Probably this is also a motif which is pushing Al Baker to take it light on his friend.

  4. I guess Al Baker missed Trump’s elevation of a white supremacist to one of the most powerful positions in government… and also missed Trump’s tweets defending another one last week. Those who think these facts are not related to the ban are ignorant.

  5. Trump should be charged with treason (will probably happen before 2017 is over.)

    (Also @Nicola, the prior administration’s suspension of Iraqi visas was significantly different from this EO.)

  6. @ Melissa – You may love Trump, some people don’t, stop hating them over it.

    “I am patient with stupidity but not those who are proud of it.” – Edith Sitwell

  7. Most effective (albeit unethical) way to get low intellect humans to do what one wants is to treat them like house pets. You can’t reason with them but can be very successful by conditioning them with small rewards.

    @melisa – Your doggy treat is ready at the local gun shop.

  8. @Melissa – even authority granted by statute is subject to review to see if it complies with the Constitution. As of now, the courts have ruled that (a) there is a possibility that arguments that the executive order is unconstitutional sufficient enough to prevail at trial, and (b) there is insufficient evidence that staying the executive order until that case progresses through the courts would expose the country to immediate risk. Courts have that authority.

  9. i don’t believe for one minute that Al Baker flew pre eco on another airline. Probably one of his assistants or executives was ordered to do so, and gave him a detailed report, so Al Baker is able to speak to confidently about it.

  10. Even more interesting, to me personally at least, is the fact that he blamed the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) for his failure to launch the Almaha airline (citing bureaucracy as the reason), even though they applied for the liscence before SaudiGulf which has been operational since October.

    He’s more of narcissist than Trump and that in its own right is an achievement.

  11. I think wait and see is perfectly valid. We all know this was his attempt to phrase in a Muslim ban, but if he’s having this much trouble doing it then it’s quite likely to fail.

  12. “in 2011 Mrs Clinton pushed Obama’s administration to impose a ban of six months on Iraqis”

    I guess if the Right keeps spreading that propaganda long enough, other people will start to believe and recycle that nonsense themselves.

    “there was no ban on Syrians in 2011 but I know several Syrians (I live in Dubai) who could not get a chance of obtaining a US visa”

    There must have been something with your friends personally, because I knew quite a few that year who did get visas.

  13. The disgusting, patronizing tone towards people who support Trump is seriously unbecoming.

    Lucky, I suggest you moderate this hatred a little. The vast majority of Americans support the 90 day moratorium on uncontrolled migration from those seven failed countries (55 for, 38 against // politico).

    There’s no reason to be so condescending and vile. Not only won’t it work – it will only strengthen the resolve – it makes you look like self-aggrandizing fools. Every country has a right to define who enters its soil; that’s the very definition of having a country.

  14. “The vast majority of Americans support the 90 day moratorium on uncontrolled migration from those seven failed countries (55 for, 38 against // politico).”

    No, not really. I’ve seen many polls indicating the majority of Americans are against the ban as it is.

  15. I won’t really go out of my way to say that Qatar’s economy is consistently better than PE on the competition. However, in some instances it really is true. I recently flew Air France in PE on two legs, both being about 10 hours long and the leg support really does get in the way and isn’t the most comfortable option out there. The seats barely have any padding and the in-flight entertainment isn’t good enough. So, in just this one case, I would have preferred flying economy on Qatar.

  16. “The leg rest becomes very uncomfortable on a long-haul flight.”

    Qatar has legrests in bulkhead economy seats on their old non-reconfigured 777s…

  17. Inconvenient facts (for anti-Trump ideologues):

    Rasmussen Polls has called the last 3 elections correctly, within the margin of error, and today it has Trump’s favorable rating at 53% for likely voters. .

    Rasmussen also has the approval of the temporary immigration PAUSE, not “ban” but pause, at 58% for all likely voters.

    Many other polls have lower figures for both of these questions, because they poll 10 to 15 percent more Democrats than Republicans, greatly skewing the result. That’s why some of them had Hillary at a 12% “advantage” just prior to the election. Which epic fail probably hurt Hillary’s chances as she thought she was a shoe in and didn’t have to try very hard. Rasmussen had her “popular vote” advantage at 2%.

    How were these 7 countries chosen?

    “(In Dec 2015), Obama signed the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act. At the initial signing of the restrictions, foreigners who would normally be deemed eligible for a visa waiver were denied if they had visited Iran, Syria, Sudan or Iraq in the past five years or held dual citizenship from one of those countries…..a bipartisan bill passed through Congress with little pushback. In February 2016, the Obama administration added Libya, Somali and Yemen to the list of countries…”

    (Google: Friendly Reminder: Obama Selected The List Of Muslim Countries in Trump’s Executive Order}

    The Obama administration correctly identified these 7 as failed states with active terrorist groups.

    As Salena Zito famously said: The press took Republican Donald Trump “literally, but not seriously, whereas Trump’s supporters took him “seriously, but not literally.” So when Trump campaigned on a “Muslim ban”, people who voted for him understood what he really meant was extreme vetting for people coming from failed states, where due to a near total collapse of the government it’s virtually impossible to get reliable information on potential immigrants. While the US has been lucky to not have had as many successful terrorist attacks on US soil as the EU, the idea is to prevent as much as possible the sort of attacks that have occurred in Nice, Paris, and Berlin.

    About the charges of Trump being “racist and xenophobic”, consider that he has already nominated the following for cabinet posts: Elaine Chao (immigrant from Taiwan), ‘Nikki’ Haley (her parents are Sikh immigrants from Punjab, India, and her birth name was Nimrata Randhawa), and Dr Ben Carson (chosen for HUD to try to improve the terrible conditions of inner city ghettos). While the BLM movement is mute about the horrendous murder rate of Blacks in Chicago, Trump has put former Obama administration member and now Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on notice that either he brings that way down, or Trump will “send in the Feds”.

    And as for the disgraceful lie that Attorney General Sessions is a “racist” you might want to google: “Alabama Prosecutor: Jeff Sessions Helped Secure the Death Penalty for the KKK”. Regarding the Coretta Scott King letter, it was written 30 years ago, when Sessions was prosecuting some King family friends who were engaging in voter fraud against other black candidates.

    (Google: “Alveda King: Warren Using The King Name To “Play The Race Card”; Coretta Wanted To Bring People Together, Not Divide”)

    “King said Sessions has worked to end school segregation and prosecute members of the KKK, things her aunt was for, and that Warren is using the remarks as a “bait and switch.” King accused Warren of using the King name to “play the race card.”

  18. Sorry…but what was the point of this “observation” and why is it relevant to miles & points?

  19. Oh My Goodness, William Y, the vast majority DO NOT support it. There is a majority who understand that it makes us less safe as it completely plays into the hands of ISIS. Many well respected Repulican politicians are expressing this.

  20. @Robert Hanson-staff writer for Faux News. From Wikipedia: “Rasmussen Reports, a conservative leaning publication, was founded in 2003 by Scott Rasmussen, who served as the company’s president from its founding until July 2013, when he left to found the digital media company Styrk.[1][3][4][5][6][7][8]”

    Not exactly the unbiased group I look for in my polls to follow.

  21. Lucky, don’t become an anti-Trump ideologue on this blog. No one really cares what your political feelings are, and perhaps you are not the most qualified person to comment on political issues. Just stick to travel-related contributions. I love you hotel and airline reviews, and I think you snide political commentary sucks.

  22. So heres the thing. Shit is happening in 6 of these countries. USA is bombing or supporting factions at war in all of them (except Iran. Dont really know why Iran is on the list except maybe to suck up to AIPAC).

    But Obama was smart about his ban. He banned people who went from Europe to these countries and then tried to come here through a visa waiver. This could be radicalized youth going for training and coming back so it needed a vetting which is what a visa does.

    Trump however goes and bans people on visas that is people who have been vetted. Thats Stupid. The real danger is from people with American,Canadian and European passports who are going to these countries for training and coming back rather than from people fleeing the shitstorm. Most of these people would be anti-islamist as they have seen what Islamism has done to their countries. For those with Islamist sympathies the visa process is supposed to take care of it.

    Trump actually wants terrorism in the US and is provoking it as nothing guarantees his power like a terrorist incident in the US. Witness no action against Saudi or Qatar the main funders of Al Qaeda/ISIS or Pakistan the worst nuclear proliferator in the world. He wants to pretend he is doing something while at the same time actually sabotaging the security of the country .

    And the Democrats fell for it by taking it to court. Trump will drag it out in courts for months and in the meantime if something happens (even if it is a French or American citizen not from these 7 countries who actually carries out an attack) he can blame the Democrats and most Americans would believe him.
    I would be on the lookout for false flag attacks too.

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