France has honoured Qatar Airways’ Chief Executive Officer Mr Akbar Al Baker by bestowing a Knighthood on him at the Fourth Global Travel and Tourism Summit that is being held in Doha, Qatar. French Minister of Equipment, Transportation, Housing, Tourism and Maritime Affairs HE Mr Giles de Robien officially presented Mr Akbar with the Knighthood of the French Legion of Honour (Chevalier De La Legion D’Honneur), on behalf of the French Government.
“I am deeply honoured to receive this award from France, and feel very humbled,” said Mr Al Baker.
Mr Al Baker was also presented with an award from the Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO) that recognises his achievement with Qatar Airways during the last seven years.
AACO Secretary General, Mr Abdul Wahab Teffaha presented Mr Akbar the award in front of a large contingent of international media.
Mr Teffaha said that Mr Al Baker had achieved great success with Qatar’s national carrier since he relaunched the national carrier in 1997. He said Mr Al Baker had transformed the airline into one of the world’s fastest growing carriers and a leader in service quality, in a very short time.
Last week, Qatar Airways became one of three airlines in the world to be ranked as a Five Star airline by the independent airline quality monitor Skytrax.
When Mr Al Baker took control of the reigns at Qatar Airways in late 1996, the airline operated as a small regional airline with just four aircraft.
The airline now serves nearly 50 destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Indian sub-continent and the Far East, and will be serving 60 destinations within the year.
Qatar Airways now operates a fleet of 31 aircraft, which will increase to 52 by 2008.