Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al Baker is new Chairman of oneworld alliance

By Luke Barras-hill |

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive H.E. Akbar Al Baker has been appointed as the new Chairman of oneworld.

The Governing Board of airline alliance oneworld has named Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Akbar Al Baker as Chairman.

Al Baker, chief of the national carrier and several of its divisions including Qatar Duty Free, succeeds Qantas CEO Alan Joyce who has served in the post since September 2018.

Oneworld’s global loyalty network counts 14 airlines, including the likes of British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair and the aforementioned Qatar Airways, serving flights to as many as 1,000 destinations in 170 countries.

In his new role, Al Baker will oversee the alliance’s governance strategy, chair its board meetings and work closely with oneworld CEO Rob Gurney and the management team.

Qatar Airways has been a member of  oneworld since October 2013. Source: Qatar Airways.

‘A TREMENDOUS PRIVILEGE’

As an influential figure in global aviation, Al Baker has been the steward of Qatar Airways since its launch in 1997.

Under his leadership, Qatar Airways has grown into a decorated carrier with an expansive global network that has plans to serve more than 140 destinations by the end of July.

A familiar face within global duty free and travel retail circles, Al Baker has appeared as a keynote at industry conferences including the Trinity Forum in 2019, hosted in Doha, Qatar.

He served as Chairman of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) from June 2018 to June 2019 and has been on the board of governors since 2012,  dividing his time between a number of other senior aviation and tourism posts.

In a statement, Al Baker said he was honoured to have been chosen for the position at a time when aviation is facing its sternest 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,” he said.

“I look forward to serving as Chairman of the Governing Board and working with our alliance partners, oneworld CEO Rob Gurney and the oneworld team to provide more global connectivity, a seamless travel experience and more valuable loyalty offerings for our passengers.”

One of Qatar Duty Free’s shops at Hamad International Airport, Doha.

Rob Gurney, CEO, oneworld added: “On behalf of the alliance, we want to thank Mr Joyce for his leadership of oneworld, including during a challenging period for the industry.

“Since Qatar Airways joined oneworld in 2013, it has been a leading contributor to the alliance and we are honoured to have His Excellency Mr Al Baker serve as our next Governing Board Chairman. We look forward to working with him to further strengthen and grow the alliance, as we position oneworld for an industry recovery.”

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