The Business Year

Akbar Al Baker Group CEO & Executive Board Member, Qatar Airways

QATAR - Transport

Akbar Al Baker

Group CEO & Executive Board Member, Qatar Airways

Bio

Akbar Al Baker has been instrumental in shaping the development of Qatar Airways into one of the fastest growing and most highly acclaimed airlines in the world. He is the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO), a member of the board of governors of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and a non-executive director of Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH). A highly motivated individual, he has been a successful businessman for more than 25 years, holds a private pilot license, and is also CEO of several divisions of Qatar’s national airline, including Qatar Executive, Hamad International Airport, Qatar Aviation Services, Qatar Aircraft Catering Company, Qatar Distribution Company, Qatar Duty Free, and Internal Media Services. He is a graduate in economics and commerce and worked at various levels in the Civil Aviation Directorate before becoming Qatar Airways’ Group CEO in 1997.

Qatar Airways is focused on sustainability throughout its entire operation by promoting environmental leadership and awareness and aligning with international standards.
Qatar Airways is leading the aviation sector’s transition to sustainability. What developments can we expect in the near future in this regard?

At Qatar Airways, we recognize the importance of environmental sustainability in aviation, and we will continue to reaffirm our leadership and commitment to work in collaboration with governments and aviation industry stakeholders toward our ambitious environmental goals. We are constantly setting new milestones on environmental sustainability for the aviation industry, together with our global and regional partners. In 2020, together with oneworld, we were the first global alliance to unite behind a shared carbon neutrality goal, and in October 2021, we also celebrated the International Air Transport Association (IATA) agreement to set the global industry’s target to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Together with oneworld Alliance, we outlined the path to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, including an ambitious collective target of using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for 10% of combined fuel volumes by 2030. Most recently, in November 2021, we committed together with the oneworld airlines members to purchase 350 million gallons of blended sustainable aviation fuel at one airport in California. In the coming years, there will be more industry-leading announcements not only on SAF but also on aviation-technology partnerships and new carbon offsetting. In November 2021, Qatar Airways Cargo, in partnership with IATA, became the first carrier to join the IATA CO2NNECT platform offering a new voluntary carbon offsetting program for air cargo shipments. This established a landmark for the upcoming voluntary carbon offsetting program for passenger, corporates, and cargo. In 2021, Qatar Airways became the first carrier in Middle East to join the ICAO Global Coalition for Sustainable Aviation and also the first carrier in Middle East to join the IATA Turbulence Aware data exchange platform. We will continue having one of the most modern fleet and advanced aircraft technology in the sky, and we continue to explore ways to keep our fleet young, flexible, and efficient through advanced fleet management and our more than 70 fuel optimization projects. Qatar Airways has also made considerable progress in reducing the uses of single-use plastics onboard and are constantly looking at alternate sustainable products that meet the changing regulatory requirements.

What does it mean for Qatar Airways to be the Official Partner and the Official Airline of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022?

As the Official Partner and Official Airline of the greatest football event on earth, we look forward to welcoming fans from across the world on board our flights, where they can experience Qatar Airways’ five-star hospitality. Qatar Airways understands the power of sport in bringing people together in the spirit of friendly competition. FIFA, as the governing body of the world’s most popular sporting tournament, embodies the power of football’s popularity and is a natural partner for Qatar Airways. We are incredibly proud to be a part of this iconic tournament in our home country of the State of Qatar.

How do you envision the expansion of the Qatari tourism sector in the journey toward the realization of Vision 2030?

At Qatar Tourism, where I serve as chairman, our goal is to establish Qatar as a world-leading destination and welcome more than 6 million visitors a year by 2030. We expect to welcome around 1 million visitors for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. To prepare for this, Qatar Tourism is undertaking a range of initiatives to offer new and undiscovered experiences. The destination is constantly evolving to ensure visitors have a seamless and memorable trip, including the development of a number of new hotels in the pipeline. Through these efforts, Qatar Tourism aims to increase tourism demand, which fuels the domestic ecosystem in building world-class touristic assets and attractions, creating a tourism demand multiplier effect that will boost the domestic economy and strengthen Qatar’s ecosystems across hospitality, retail, food and beverage, cultural and creative industries, sports, transportation systems, and business events. 

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