Oh Boy: Qatar Airways CEO To Become Chairman Of IATA

IATA (the International Air Transport Association) is a trade association that represents around 275 airlines, and about 83% of global air traffic. The purpose of IATA is to address critical aviation issues and formulate aviation policies that are in the best interest of the industry on the whole.

In addition to IATA having a CEO, they also have a chairman (typically the CEO of an airline), who serves a one year rotating term. Currently Goh Choon Phong, Singapore Airlines’ CEO, is serving a term, which is set to expire next summer. Well, the next IATA chairman has just been announced, and this is certainly a controversial choice.

Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker, has been named the next chairman of IATA. His one year term will start in June 2018. Per the Qatar Airways press release:

“I am honoured to have been chosen by my fellow board members to head this important body, at a time when the industry faces numerous challenges on a multitude of levels. To represent and lead the IATA Board of Governors is a tremendous privilege, and I am grateful for the opportunity to represent an industry that plays such a vital role in the global economy.”

“For more than two decades I have lived and breathed aviation, and I look forward to working alongside the Board of Governors to champion passenger rights and improve security standards across the industry, as well as continuing to promote the rights of freedom of flight for all.”

This is sure to be interesting for a couple of reasons.

First of all, Al Baker has been highly critical of IATA over the years. In 2011 he criticized IATA for being elitist, claiming it was “run for the few, by the few.” During last year’s IATA AGM Al Baker criticized IATA’s CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, who he’s going to have to work with during his term.

Perhaps even more interesting is that Al Baker is taking over at a time when Qatar faces a blockade in the region, and when the battle over Open Skies is being debated as heavily as ever. With Al Baker’s stated goal of “promoting the rights of freedom of flight for all,” it sure will be interesting to see how Emirates, Etihad, American, Delta, United, etc., feel about this appointment.

If nothing else, I sure look forward to Al Baker’s colorful commentary when he’s the chairman of IATA. Let’s see if he can drain the elitist IATA swamp. 😉

Comments

  1. He is a very capable man and I am sure he can execute his new position as well or better than any other candidate.

  2. Drain the elitist swamp? This is the equivalent of electing Trump to drain the D.C. swamp. He IS the swamp! A scumbag like Al Baker doesn’t deserve to be head of anything. So much disgusting Middle East bias in this blog.

  3. This is exactly the reason, why he is appointed chairman now: the Qatar ban. IATA is openly supporting Qatar Airways with this appointment at this moment. It’s a slap into the face especially for Qatar’s longhaul competitors from the UAE…

  4. @Ray: I read Lucky’s swamp comment as sarcasm — I think that was exactly the point that Lucky was making

    @James: Given all the unusual and often off-the-wall things that Al Baker has done, the strong feelings about him are driven by that. Can you provide any evidence to back your assertion the comments were made because he is an arabic man.

  5. @Neil Lang
    Any of his doing has personally injure any of you? If no, the comments were simply driven by opinions. Opinion from the self-entitled-frequent-flyer who thought he/she knows everything that is right and anyone else is wrong.

  6. This is certainly a bit surprising. Are we expecting him to stop staying stupid stuff? (He’s a bit like the Trump of the aviation world.)

  7. Actually Al Baker is Indian. Qatari citizen. He was born in Qatar. And most Qataris are Iranian which makes them Persians. They try to deny it but they are. And not just Qataris, dig more and you will find UAE, Kuwait, etc too.

  8. Great….al baker deserve the post…he will do d best…he knows how to manage…all support …wish all success

  9. Lol. Galileo once called ‘stupid’ for declaring that earth actually rotates around the sun, not the other way around. Hahahahaha….

  10. He’ll probably fly Qatar Executive instead of Qatar Airways when he needs to meet at IATA HQ in Montreal. If it’s the latter, hope it will trigger a change from 777 to A350 on the YUL-DOH route

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