Qatar Airways: Change at the top as Chief Executive Al Baker to stand down

By Luke Barras-hill |

Akbar Al Baker (left) will stand down as CEO, effective 5 November, as Badr Mohammed Al-Meer takes up the leadership reins at Qatar Airways. Source: Qatar Airways Group.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker is to leave after 27 years’ service, the company has confirmed.

In a statement, the airline says Al Baker will step away from his leadership post on 5 November.

His successor is Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, currently Chief Operating Officer of Hamad International Airport (HIA).

A Reuters report citing an internal memo and a source close to the matter suggests Al Baker is retiring, while a post on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) from prominent aviation analyst Alex Macheras points to Al Baker’s appointment as advisor to H.E. the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

The Group is yet to issue anything official on the reason or timing of Al Baker’s departure.

TRBusiness has approached Qatar Airways Group and the State of Qatar’s Government Communications Office for comment.

During his tenure at Qatar Airways, the outspoken aviation executive has been instrumental in the rise of the flag carrier into a major force in global air transport, today flying to more than 160 destinations via its hub at HIA in Doha.

The airline is recognised for its high levels of customer service, winning the Skytrax ‘World’s Best Airline’ on seven occasions, while HIA has also been voted ‘World’s Best Airport’.

Qatar Airways’ company Qatar Duty Free earned the ‘Highly Recommended’ honour for the Oreo Day campaign in the the ‘Best Retailer & Supplier Promotion’ category at this year’s consumer-voted Global Travel Retail Awards and won ‘Best Airport for Retail Environment’ in the 2020 Travel Retail Awards.

Al Baker’s replacement is long-serving and accomplished senior executive Al-Meer, who alongside Al Baker has played an important role in the transformation of HIA with the unveiling of its new terminal expansion in time for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

“The Qatar Airways Group’s contribution to helping deliver the best-ever FIFA World Cup showcased to the world its capability, commitment to excellence and its passion for bringing the world together,” Qatar Airways Group added in a statement.

Above: See a fly-through of the new terminal expansion at HIA, unveiled in November 2022; below: Watch a video interview with Badr Mohammed Al-Meer in 2019, in which he speaks to TRBusiness about plans to expand the overseas investment, management and operational capabilities of the Qatar Company for Airports Operation and Management (Matar).

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