Akbar Al Baker is an extraordinary man with a multi-faceted personality that has seen him fit into many different roles during his life of 57 years.
He was born in 1962 in Doha, but later, moved to India to pursue his studies. He went to the St. Peters Boys School in Panchgani Hills in Maharashtra, and then graduated from the Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai. While he was in Mumbai, Al Baker also got a private pilot license. Little did he know at the time that he would go on to steer Qatar Airways as the Chief executive Officer (CEO) and turn it into one of the world’s best 5-star airlines.
For 25 years after he graduated, he worked in the aviation and tourism industry as a successful businessman, before he became associated with Qatar Airways, which was founded on 22 November 1993. In 1997, Akbar Al Baker became the President, and his guidance and business knowhow transformed the relatively small regional airline into a global giant. Today he is the CEO of several divisions of Qatar's national airline, including Qatar Executive, Qatar Airways Holidays, Qatar Aviation Services, Qatar Duty Free Company, Doha International Airport, Internal Media Services, Qatar Distribution Company and Qatar Aircraft Catering Company, and that’s why his title is Group CEO of Qatar Airways, a hat he wears proudly and deftly.
This is what he had to say to Apex about his role as Qatar Airways Group CEO and how he conducts business successfully:
“I am very much hands-on and involve myself in all aspects of the company.”
Before he joined Qatar Airways, Al Baker worked as a Civil Aviation Directorate in Qatar, and this is where he cultivated a deep understanding of the region’s transportation sector. He has also held the position of Chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority (now known as the Qatar National Tourism Council), and today continues to work closely with QNTC as it’s Secretary General to help boost Qatar as a tourism destination.
Al Baker is passionate about putting Qatar on the world stage it shows in all the different roles he has, another one of which is being Lead Developer and Director of Hamad International Airport (HIA). This is what he had to say to Apex after HIA was acknowledged as being one of the best:
“What is very important is that we are really showcasing what my country Qatar is to provide to the traveling public. What we do really is the best, and you can see that in the first eight months of opening Hamad International: we already received recognition as the best airport in the Middle East”.
This highly motivated individual is committed to excellence, and that’s probably why, he was was appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Governors at the International Air Transport Association (better known as IATA) from 2018 to 2019. Today, he continues as a member of the council of governors.
Mr. Al Baker is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO) and is a non-executive Director of Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) - the company responsible for the running and development of the UK’s largest airport.
Under the guidance and lead of Owner and Group Chairman Akbar Al Baker, Bin Yousef has stood the test of time and continues to thrive across various industries, continually seeking to expand both locally and internationally. From a single retail store in Doha in 1978, Bin Yousef has grown over the past four decades into a powerful holding group with divisions in fashion, cargo, supermarkets, real estate, facilities and property management, tourism, hospitality and investments.
Al Baker, is one of the most prominent personalities in the global aviation industry, and know all over the world because of his vision and dynamic personality.
In 2002, Al Baker was awarded the ‘Officier de la Legion d’Honneur’ by the French Minister of Transport in Qatar during the World Travel and Tourism Summit.
In 2005, Al Baker was named as the “Airline Personality of the Year”.
In 2008, Al Baker was ranked number 14 in the Arabian Business.com’s Power 100.
In June 2015, French president François Hollande (at the time) honoured Al Baker with the illustrious award “La Légion d'Honneur (Legion of Honour)”.
In November 2017, he was given the title of "Aviation Executive of the Year" by CAPA Centre for Aviation in recognition of his global influence and visionary approach to the airline industry, demonstrating outstanding strategic thinking and innovative direction in spearheading the growth of Qatar Airways’ business.
Akbar Al Baker is married to Samira Al Baker and has two sons - Mohammad and Hussain. He has rubbed shoulders with many prominent personalities and celebrities throughout his working like. Some of these prominent names include Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump, Queen Elizabeth II, Diana Ross, Julianne Moore and Idris Elba, amongst others
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