Oh my goodness, I never thought I’d see the day where Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker, apologizes for a statement he made. Akbar is one of the most colorful guys in the airline industry and says some pretty crazy things, though I don’t think I’ve ever seen him issue an apology for any of those, no matter how ridiculous. Well, today is different, apparently.
I’ve been sent the following statement from Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker, regarding what he said about the “grandma” flight attendants at US airlines:
“I should like to apologise unreservedly to those offended by my recent remarks which compared Qatar Airways cabin crew with cabin crew on US carriers. The remarks were made informally at a private gala dinner, following comments about the Qatar Airways cabin service, and were in no way intended to cause offence. This is a time of strong rivalry between our airline and the US carriers, and we are of course immensely proud of our own cabin crew. However, cabin crew are the public face of all airlines, and I greatly respect their hard work and professionalism. They play a huge role in the safety and comfort of passengers, irrespective of their age or gender or familial status. I have worked for many years in the industry, and I have a high regard for the value that I see long-serving staff members bringing through their experience and dedication.”
This is in reference to Akbar’s statements last week at a gala intended to celebrate the airline launching flights to Dublin. During this he said the following while describing the Qatar Airways experience:
“Wide seats, plenty of legroom, as well as award winning service from our international cabin crew. By the way, the average age of my cabin crew is only 26 years, so there is no need for you to travel on this crap American carriers. You know you are always being served by grandmothers at American carriers.”
Here’s the video of what he said:
Now I’m not sure Akbar’s apology is much of an apology, but I suppose it’s better than nothing. He starts by apologizing “unreservedly,” but then the apology isn’t really for what he said, but rather for those that it offended. He goes on to justify what he said, say he has respect for everyone in the profession, etc., but doesn’t admit that what he said was wrong and in poor taste.
I wouldn’t call this a full apology, but it is more than we’ll otherwise ever get from him. Baby steps, I guess.
What do you make of Akbar’s apology?