Al Baker was selected by fellow airline executives attending IATA’s annual World Air Transport Summit in Beijing this week. His is a newly-created position to increase representation for Middle East carriers on the revamped 10-member IATA board.
IATA is an international trade body, created over 60 years ago by a group of airlines. Today, the international body represents the interests of over 240 airlines comprising around 85 per cent of total air traffic.
Last year at the IATA summit in Singapore, Al Baker was vocal about the structure of IATA, its lack of transparency and questionable auditing processes. He also highlighted the lack of fair and equal representation of airlines from the Middle East on IATA’s Board of Governors.
“I have been lobbying IATA to be more transparent and have a structure where it speaks on behalf of all airline members and not just for a few,” said Al Baker, speaking in China’s capital city.
“The old guard at IATA has gone and I am delighted to have been voted onto the Board of Governors and assure IATA members, both in my region and around the world that I will do my utmost to serve in the interests of the airline industry as a whole.”
Added Al Baker: “I am delighted that IATA, now under a new leadership, has understood my concerns and acted accordingly to reflect the demands for greater transparency and improved membership representation on the IATA board.”
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 15 years of operation under the leadership of Al Baker. The airline currently operates a modern fleet of 109 aircraft to 116 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), and now Baghdad, with many more destinations planned during 2012.
Over the next few months, Qatar Airways launches services to a diverse portfolio of new routes, including Perth, Australia (July 3); Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (July 25); Mombasa, Kenya (August 15); Yangon, Myanmar (October 3) 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.