Qatar Airways CEO Appointed Oneworld Chairman

Qatar Airways CEO Appointed Oneworld Chairman

29

Talk about a major evolution…

Akbar Al Baker named oneworld chairman

The governing board of the oneworld alliance has just appointed Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker as chairman. Al Baker succeeds Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who served in the role since September 2018. Al Baker will now oversee the alliance’s governance, and work closely with oneworld CEO Rob Gurney.

59-year-old Al Baker has been CEO of Qatar Airways since 1997, making him the longest serving CEO of any oneworld airline.

Here’s what Al Baker had to say about his new role:

“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.”

Qatar Airways’ CEO is now the oneworld chairman

Why this is a significant development

Qatar Airways joined the oneworld alliance in 2013, which was a pretty significant development, as the Doha-based airline was the only one of the “big three” Gulf carriers to join a global airline alliance.

However, from 2015 to 2019, Al Baker consistently threatened to have his airline leave the oneworld alliance:

  • Al Baker wasn’t happy about the way that Qatar Airways was being treated by partners; for example, American Airlines (and other major carriers in the USA) were running a smear campaign against Gulf carriers
  • At the same time, realistically I didn’t think Qatar Airways would leave oneworld, especially given Qatar Airways’ ownership stake in IAG (the parent company of British Airways and Iberia)

For example, here’s what Al Baker said about oneworld in early 2019:

“About oneworld, it was not a rumor, you heard it from me. And we have given them a breathing space to get their act together. You see when you invite somebody, you invite me, to your house, and then you tell me that I can not drink the water from the glass I have to drink from the tap, and then you tell me that we will not give you any food, we will only give you bread and water. This is not why you invited me to your house. You invited me to your house as your guest, and as somebody that you respect.

Qatar Airways is not a Mickey Mouse airline. We are the largest ASK contributor to the oneworld if you add all our investments. And if you remove those investments, we are the second largest ASK contributor to the oneworld. And if we leave oneworld we will create a big hole for them in their entire connectivity.

We are not going to be bullied by some individual who thinks that the world belongs to them. The world belongs to the world community. And we as an airline, we will demand respect, and we will not submit to anybody that is trying to bully us.

We in the matter of a month or two will give you the news if we are going to stay or we are going to withdraw. And I think it is the latter that will happen. Since the people that invited us are now constantly targeting us and our growth.”

For a long time American Airlines was campaigning against Qatar Airways

It’s fantastic to see how much the situation has changed recently, and the extent to which Qatar Airways is now committed to the oneworld alliance. American Airlines and Qatar Airways are now partnering closely together, and there’s no bad blood anymore. On top of that, new oneworld entrant Alaska Airlines also has a great partnership with Qatar Airways.

Personally I view Qatar Airways’ oneworld membership as a major competitive advantage over Emirates from a frequent flyer perspective.

Bottom line

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has been appointed chairman of the oneworld alliance, which is really cool to see when you consider what Al Baker’s stance was on the alliance just a couple of years ago.

Fortunately a lot has changed for the better, including American Airlines actually working together with Qatar Airways, rather than campaigning against the airline.

What do you make of Al Baker’s appointment as oneworld chairman?

Conversations (29)
Newest comments are displayed first.

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Rabia Shagufta

    Sir how can i cotect you i want to cotect u regrading my brother Syed Mateen Ahmed job he was working in qatir airway but unfortunately he loss his job during qator suadi conflict. Respected sir he is with his 3 kidz and he is so financially broken plz do something for his job we all will be always grateful to you
    Regards
    His sister
    Rabia

  2. Mike

    He fired most senior pilots from the company he is basically making all the employees slave , so if you guys like the customer service that is because you guys like to have slaves. Grow up. We need to ban qatar airways if you care about employees rather than service.

  3. Erick

    @DenB® and @flyinryan : very well said - thank you :)

    I flew Qatar quite a few times. Never disappointed. Not in coach. Not in business. Service consistently better than on AA, BA and above all Iberia ;-)

    The guy can be loud and direct? fantastic, let's hope he has something to prove and will deliver. We are paying guests so I suppose we deserve respect, good food and a great service.

    Interesting move in any case...

  4. roger

    Hopefully He will be more assertive in Growing ONEWORLD in areas where they lack a significant presence. Qatar Airways is a very deserving Five Star Airline but Doha will never match Dubai in terms of a travellers appeal. ONEWORLD needs shaking up and hopefully this change in Leadership will see a New Direction and Growth for the Alliance.

  5. Cassio

    Main thing about Qatar that sucks has to be the great lounges in Qatar for non-QR Sapphire/Emerald members.

  6. Peter Brown

    Will shake up all those losers at ONEWORLD!!!

  7. AJ23

    The first move he should do is kick Qantas out of one world.

    Now a down market carrier that slashed travel agent commissions and part of a country that wants to be closed forever and not open to the rest of the world.

    Qantas should join the closedworld alliance instead.

  8. flyinryan

    Everyone - seriously - the guy likes to be referred to as "Your Excellency" but he doesn't run the *government* of Qatar. He runs an airline, and he's good at it. Try not to conflate Qatar Airlines with the government of Qatar?

  9. Philip Elliott

    As a goodbye message, Joyce announced that as of next year Qantas will only pay 1% agent commissions instead of the present 5%. That means agents would need to charge booking fees here.

  10. DCYukon

    If it hadn’t been for his self-defeating devaluation of discounted business class, I’d have said it was a good idea. That decision as well as QR’s somewhat pointless frequent flyer program makes me question some of his decisions, as they affect premium fare passengers and frequent flyers. We will see how things work out.

  11. Paul

    He’s Chairman, not God. The CEO is the operational decision maker so everyone relax. All I’d say to Al Bakr is get rid on of your painful 777 and cancel the 777x - THE worst passenger experience of any aircraft. Loud, poor atmospherics and always configured cramped…..just what you want on long and ultra long haul…..Not!!.

  12. John

    Quite a huge difference in management philosophies: Joyce has an LCC background and has taken QANTAS downmarket in small but incremental steps whereas Al Baker is about being top dog in product and service excellence, no matter what class you fly at Qatar Airways. If Al Baker can shame, poke, prod and berate his fellow CEOs into making their own airlines just a bit better, then his appointment will be a success. As an aussie...

    Quite a huge difference in management philosophies: Joyce has an LCC background and has taken QANTAS downmarket in small but incremental steps whereas Al Baker is about being top dog in product and service excellence, no matter what class you fly at Qatar Airways. If Al Baker can shame, poke, prod and berate his fellow CEOs into making their own airlines just a bit better, then his appointment will be a success. As an aussie who's flown QANTAS since 1983, I know which foreign airline I prefer when travelling out of Australia!

  13. B

    Does this mean I can finally choose seat assignments on my Qatar Business "Classic" flight as I should be able to with Emerald Status? lol

    Qatar's website is a joke with broken links, not recognizing OneWorld status, selecting seats where a paywall is supposed to exist but errors out, said seats assigned without payment and then stripped away, updated traveler information isn't saved (passport info, DOB, KTN, etc.).

    Here's to hoping he has nothing...

    Does this mean I can finally choose seat assignments on my Qatar Business "Classic" flight as I should be able to with Emerald Status? lol

    Qatar's website is a joke with broken links, not recognizing OneWorld status, selecting seats where a paywall is supposed to exist but errors out, said seats assigned without payment and then stripped away, updated traveler information isn't saved (passport info, DOB, KTN, etc.).

    Here's to hoping he has nothing to do with the OneWorld website and it's UI.

  14. Matt

    @Sharon. I'm gay and I've been in Qatar and it was OK. Yes, you are right its not great and there is discrimination. But if you have watched the news recently, it isn't great being black in America so are you boycotting the US?

  15. Stanley

    @Sharon, no gives a Flying F. about whether or not you fly Qatar Airways. We won't fly Spirit airline just to please you.
    Many of us are extremely happy to fly the best business class airline in the world especially if that pisses you off

  16. Sir Walter Raleigh

    Arab airlines provide the best service. Maybe he can teach BA/AA a thing or 2

  17. Russ

    I love seeing Mr. Al Baker in this role, he is definitely bombastic as the norm and not the exception. The other member carriers of OneWorld need to be more like Qatar Airways and less like “Mickey Mouse” airlines they are devolving into trying to mimic Spirit and Frontier. The one stop connectivity offered via Doha is valuable for many trips. I can’t wait for my next Qatar flight and hopefully I would be afforded...

    I love seeing Mr. Al Baker in this role, he is definitely bombastic as the norm and not the exception. The other member carriers of OneWorld need to be more like Qatar Airways and less like “Mickey Mouse” airlines they are devolving into trying to mimic Spirit and Frontier. The one stop connectivity offered via Doha is valuable for many trips. I can’t wait for my next Qatar flight and hopefully I would be afforded a chance to visit Doha again on my way around the world.

  18. DenB®

    Grindr works just fine in Doha and in Jeddah. @Sharon engagement, travel, understanding is as much a part of the solution as boycott. I learned these things from my gay Saudi boyfriend.

  19. Sharon

    Women are treated 2nd class in Qatar

    Women must get permission from the man to do activities. Only men can initiate divorce.

    If you are a guy, you can not be LGBTQ in Qatar either.

    Freedom of speech- forget about that in Qatar.

    Sure, go ahead and support Qatar if you enjoy abusing human rights, enjoy!!

  20. Chris

    @Sharon - Happy to hear. More seats for those of us who enjoy flying the best airline in the world.

  21. Luke

    I'm bit concerned he will convince the alliance to become more stingy with releasing premium award seats including his own carrier and also devaluations galore (which their own program already did!)

  22. Sharon

    Not a good move.

    Qatar is in cahoots with Iran and terrorist organizations all while trying to be “friends” with the west.

    I refuse to fly Qatar

  23. Erik Nordenson

    No american run airline will have a complimentary word to say about any foreign run/owned airline. THEY ARE PURE AND SIMPLE JEALOUS. All the typical airline passenger has to do is fly one american airline in one direction and the return a foreign one. Figure it out which one is superior. American run airline do not know the meaning and definition of Service.

  24. Anthony

    Wish more CEOs were like Al Baker.

  25. DrewT

    I wonder if he will push to being back things like through checking bags and providing protection for separate PNRs on one world carriers?

    It doesn't seem like providing that benefit would have that great of a cost to the carriers.

    And it's hugely helpful if you're combining business and personal travel. Business pays for the long haul flights, and I tack on additional award flights or cheap flights to visit somewhere else.

  26. DenB®

    Often says things as they aren't.

  27. Stanley

    Love this guy. Not the typical politically correct weak ceo who says things as they are

Featured Comments Load all 29 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Rabia Shagufta

Sir how can i cotect you i want to cotect u regrading my brother Syed Mateen Ahmed job he was working in qatir airway but unfortunately he loss his job during qator suadi conflict. Respected sir he is with his 3 kidz and he is so financially broken plz do something for his job we all will be always grateful to you Regards His sister Rabia

Mike

He fired most senior pilots from the company he is basically making all the employees slave , so if you guys like the customer service that is because you guys like to have slaves. Grow up. We need to ban qatar airways if you care about employees rather than service.

Erick

@DenB® and @flyinryan : very well said - thank you :) I flew Qatar quite a few times. Never disappointed. Not in coach. Not in business. Service consistently better than on AA, BA and above all Iberia ;-) The guy can be loud and direct? fantastic, let's hope he has something to prove and will deliver. We are paying guests so I suppose we deserve respect, good food and a great service. Interesting move in any case...

Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT