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QATAR AIRWAYS: Why didn’t someone wake me? Akbar Al Bakar is leaving Qatar after 27 years!

QATAR AIRWAYS: Why didn’t someone wake me? Akbar Al Bakar is leaving Qatar after 27 years!

Almost the whole time I’ve been an avgeek, Akbar Al Bakar has been the CEO of Qatar Airways, so this announcement comes as a bit of a shock.

After 27 years of service to the airline, he ‘resigns’ effective 5 November 2023, giving only a fortnight’s notice. It doesn’t seem right, does it?

The guy has just reached his 6th decade of life, so still has a few years of work, if he so chooses. Longer if he took up board seats or chairs. Hey, if he was Rupert Murdoch, he would still have 30 years of service!

a purple and white kitchen with a tray of fruit


The absence of information provided by Qatar Airways leaves us with lots to speculate. As I see it, we are left with the following possibilities:

  • Health scare – he has received some adverse health news that requires treatment, rendering it difficult for him to continue at Qatar. Or, he has decided he has other more important things to do than running an airline. Lets hope this is the furthest speculation from the truth.
  • Some intrigue has occurred and he is no longer in favour to continue at the airline.
  • He’s done something really bad, that has made his continuing tenure impossible
  • He’s found another job, and Qatar has said, don’t hang around, leave now

That’s the reasons off the top of my head. I have no insider knowledge. ,These ideas are mere spitballing.


Qatar Airways originated in 1993, with two Airbus A310s. Akbar Al Bakar joined the airline in 1996, and has lead its expansion to a current fleet of 253 aircraft covering Airbus A320s, A330s, A350s, and A380s. It’s Boeing fleet is made up of 737s, 777s and 787 Dreamliners.

Qatar Airways, with its Business Class QSuites, service and network is regarded as one of the leading world airlines.


Ackbar’s leadership is not without controversies. Everything from dismissing women in leadership positions, to the forced intimate searches of female passengers when a newborn baby was found abandoned in Hamad Airport.

Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, new head of Qatar Airways [Qatar Airways]
Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, new head of Qatar Airways [Qatar Airways]


The new CEO of Qatar will be Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer as Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive. Al Meer is currently the chief operating officer of Doha’s Hamad International Airport. So moving to a CE position at Qatar is quite a step up.

As far as we know, Thierry Antinori, currently the Chief Commercial Officer since 2019 will be staying around. He’s well regarded at the airline and has a pedigree that includes a similar position at Emirates and work at Air France and Lufthansa.

It is possible, that there might be a more complete changing of the guard, including the departure and replacement of other members of the leadership team. That remains to be seen.

a large yellow teddy bear statue in a building
The new head of Qatar was formerly Chief Operating Officer of Hamad International Airport

2PAXfly Takeout

Al Bakar, if he leaves aviation, will be a loss to the industry, even just because of his inability to hold back when offering an opinion. Such a contrast to the overly PR’d statements of some other airline CEOs.

He can leave knowing he has made a positive impression on the world airline industry, and in the eyes of many passengers.


  1. whocares

    first time reading your blog….like your last sentence. Overly PR’ed. That’s endemic everywhere. ANd it’s not just corporate PR – it’s “personal PR”….self-image.

    • 2paxfly

      Welcome ‘whocares’ to the blog, and thanks for your comment. I think I need to confess that I used to work in a PR adjacent role. One where we would mostly hunt down and eliminate that kind of language.

  2. whocares

    No worries, I used to work in Marketing — well more product mgmt, less PR. Though in the much deeper past – marketing self-image was certainly something I worked on more.

    Nearly all of us do it…for the most part. Anyone on FAKEbook does it. I bailed out in 2010.

    Also called CULTure. Also called Instagram. Also called…a devil of many disguises.



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