Akbar Al Baker was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the annual Aviation Business awards, recognising his dynamic leadership in steering the aggressive expansion of Qatar Airways since taking charge as Chief Executive Officer in 1997.
The awards evening in Dubai also honoured Qatar Airways with the Airline of the Year accolade celebrating the carrier’s focus on service excellence and high standards, spreading its wings to over 100 destinations around the world in just 14 years of operation.
The eventful week saw the Doha-based carrier place orders, both firm and option, for 88 of the Airbus A320 Neo narrow body aircraft, as well as two Boeing 777 freighters.
Amid the flurry of new announcements last week, Al Baker delivered the keynote address at the Aviation Business Awards in the presence of senior industry executives from across the Middle East, at which he spoke of the region building up a robust niche for itself when it comes to air transport, taking advantage of its geographical position.
The highly influential CEO said: “Qatar Airways yet again demonstrated it is a pacesetter, leading by example at the Dubai Air Show with announcements that continue to steer the airline into a leading force in global aviation.
On the Aviation Business Awards, he said: “I firmly believe it is my duty, as a civil servant and as Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways to guide the airline in good and bad times to remain at the pinnacle of the industry.”
During the Air Show, the carrier announced a raft of new destinations for 2012 – Gassim in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the West Australian city of Perth; Finnish capital Helsinki; Zanzibar; Croatian capital Zagreb; Kigali in Rwanda and Mombasa in Kenya.
Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of over 100 aircraft to more than 100 diverse business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America. By 2013, the fleet size will increase to more than 120 aircraft flying to over 120 destinations.
The carrier’s 2011 expansion programme has so far seen the launch of flights to 14 destinations – Bucharest (Romania), Budapest (Hungary), Brussels (Belgium), Stuttgart (Germany), Aleppo (Syria), Shiraz (Iran), Venice (Italy), Montreal (Canada), Medina (Saudi Arabia), Kolkata (India), Sofia (Bulgaria), Oslo (Norway), Benghazi (Libya) and Entebbe (Uganda).
The Chinese city of Chongqing becomes Qatar Airways’ final new route of 2011, being launched as its fifth gateway in China on November 28.
Qatar Airways has orders worth over US$50 billion for more than 250 aircraft, including Boeing 787s, 777s, Airbus A350s, A380s and A320 Family of aircraft.
Skytrax is the only global independent passenger survey monitoring airline standards and is considered the ultimate benchmark for excellence in the airline industry. In addition to winning Skytrax’s prestigious Airline of the Year 2011 award during the summer, Qatar Airways was named Best Airline in the Middle East for the sixth year in a row, and its Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport was named Best First Class Airline Lounge. For more information, visit www.qatarairways.com