Akbar Al Baker, the usually outspoken and controversial boss of Qatar Airways has let rip on the former administration of British Airways, calling the airline a low-cost “two out of ten” provider that had misplaced its focus and whose motto ‘to fly, to serve‘ was now nothing greater than a advertising slogan that meant nothing in actuality.
His feedback characteristic in a brand new interview with The Sunday Instances (paywall) wherein the 59-year-old airline govt mentioned he hopes British Airways will now “get the glitter again” below new boss Sean Doyle. However he dismissed the suggestion that BA would ever regain the title of ‘world’s favorite airline’ as a result of that accolade now belonged to Qatar Airways.
Al Baker has courted loads of controversy previously – famously saying U.S.-based carriers had been “crap” and describing flight attendants on the likes of American and United Airways as “grandmothers“. He prefers, nonetheless, to explain his method as “very direct”.
The criticism of British Airways is shocking provided that Qatar Airways owns a 25 per cent stake in its guardian firm. In reality, Qatar Airways spent $600 million to extend its stake within the Madrid-based Worldwide Airways Group (IAG) final February – and after ex-BA boss Alex Cruz had launched a raft of cost-cutting initiatives.
Specifically, Al Baker referred to as out BA’s former CEO and his administration crew for eradicating free foods and drinks on short-haul flights. “We needed an airline that doesn’t promote meals however serves meals,” he advised John Arlidge.
BA’s administration crew had “misplaced focus” based on Al Baker. The airline had been lowered “to a low-cost provider — a stage I by no means anticipated BA to be,” he continued.
“British Airways is the flag provider of the UK. You keep in mind the motto? ‘To fly, to serve’. That was not any extra the motto of the corporate. It was solely on a billboard.”
When requested to provide British Airways a rating out of ten, Al Baker snapped again: “Two”.
Cruz stop all of the sudden as chief govt of the Heathrow-based airline final October after a tumorous three years on the helm of the provider. The lead as much as his departure had seen BA are available for heavy criticism for its dealing with of the fallout from the pandemic and its therapy of long-serving workers.
In his place, Sean Doyle – a veteran IAG govt who was heading Aer Lingus – was shortly introduced as alternative. Al Baker is barely extra optimistic about BA’s future now that Doyle is in cost: “He’s an excellent chief. He has my confidence … British Airways will come again to its outdated glory,” he mentioned of Doyle.
The 2 leaders may, nonetheless, already be on a collision course. Later within the interview, Al Baker criticised airways that off Premium Economic system cabins – a product that has lengthy been embraced by BA and one which Doyle is eager to develop even additional.
“It’s essentially the most uncomfortable seat. You may’t relaxation your ft on the ground. And so they provide the similar meal, the identical bottle of wine, or no matter they provide in financial system,” he says of the Premium Economic system provided by many airways.
Al Baker as soon as famously mentioned his Economic system Class was on a par with what many rivals provided in Premium Economic system.
Elsewhere within the interview, Al Baker mentioned:
- Qatar Airways has acquired $2 billion in monetary assist from the federal government of Qatar to assist the airline survive the pandemic
- He’ll proceed to hunt compensation from Saudi Arabia and others over a close to three-year blockade
- He hopes the airline will quickly begin rehiring workers
Picture Credit score: Arie Wubben through Unsplash
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