Al Baker was recognised by the editorial team of the highly acclaimed UK-based aviation industry magazine for his leadership and strategy in developing the Doha-based airline from a small fledgling carrier to a global network business.
He has been instrumental in guiding Qatar Airways into a powerful airline in Middle East aviation and a leading international force since being appointed CEO in 1997 at the time of the carrier’s relaunch.
Al Baker has shaped Qatar Airways into an award-winning global airline – today rated the world’s best – from its operational hub of Doha, capital of the State of Qatar.
He was presented with his award by Max Kingsley-Jones, Editor of Airline Business at an illustrious gathering of over 300 guests, many leading international aerospace industry figures.
In accepting his award, Al Baker paid tribute to employees of Qatar Airways for helping make the airline the success it is today by helping lead the way in service and standards within a highly competitive global industry.
“Qatar Airways has come a long way in just 15 short years and it is an honour to accept this award and be recognised by the prestigious magazine Airline Business read by true aviation professionals the world over,” said Al Baker.
“I believe we have made huge strides in a highly competitive aviation world to become one of the best airlines and it is therefore a privilege to be honoured in front of such distinguished guests this evening.
“We are today the second largest airline in the Middle East in passenger numbers and one of the world’s fastest growing airlines and have come a long way over the past 15 years.
“This recognition clearly demonstrates our ability to prove to the global marketplace that Qatar Airways can successfully compete in the international arena. There is no better place than to be here during the Farnborough Air Show week where Qatar Airways is showcasing its first new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, raising the bar in luxury travel which other airlines are only trying to copy.”
“I’m excited that a new era of air travel with an unrivalled passenger experience is imminent, with Qatar Airways committed to expand with one of the youngest and most technically advanced fleets in the industry.”
Airline Business Editor Max Kingsley-Jones said: “The airline industry is prone to constant threats – be they economic, political, or operational – and only those carriers exhibiting strong leadership will be equipped to prosper.
“Al Baker is a shining example of an exemplary leader with a focus on the job in hand. A leader who is not shy to speak his mind when negotiating with manufacturers for new aircraft. He has transformed Qatar Airways from a small regional player into a global network carrier to rival the best in the world.
“The Airline Strategy Awards, which are now in their second decade, have consistently recognised high achievers in boardroom leadership – and we are delighted Al Baker is the recipient of this year’s Airline Business award.”
The Airline Strategy Awards are a unique set of industry awards launched by Airline Business in order to recognise excellence in boardroom leadership. Designed to recognise the crucial role that management plays in shaping future success, they are open to any senior executives or airline teams that have demonstrated excellence over the last year in setting out strategy in their area and seeing it through to success.
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operation, currently operating a modern fleet of 109 aircraft to 117 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
Since the beginning of the year, Qatar Airways has launched flights to Baku (Azerbaijan); Tbilisi (Georgia); Kigali (Rwanda); Zagreb (Croatia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad, and most recently, Perth (Australia) with many more destinations planned during 2012.
Over the next few months, Qatar Airways launches services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (July 25); Mombasa, Kenya (August 15); Yangon, Myanmar (October 3); Maputo, Mozambique (October 31) and a date yet-to-be-announced to the Serbian capital Belgrade.
Qatar Airways currently 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 last 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 Premium Service Airport for the second consecutive year in 2012.