Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker has been honoured by a leading hospitality body in Beirut with a top award for turning a once fledgling airline into one of the world’s fastest growing carriers. Horeca, the Middle East’s largest Hospitality and Food Forum, held its annual gala dinner and awards ceremony at Le Royal Hotel in the Lebanese capital, at which several high-profile hoteliers, restaurateurs and businessmen were honoured.
Al Baker, who is also chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority, picked up the 2005 award for ‘Fastest Growing Airline’ for his exceptional stewardship of transforming the company into a powerful regional and international business.
Since taking charge of Qatar Airways in 1996, Al Baker has been instrumental in turning Qatar Airways into one of the fastest growing airlines in the world. He has also shaped Qatar into a leading tourism destination with the national airline being the driving force behind putting the country on the global tourism map.
Recipients of the Horeca Awards were honoured for their merit, enormous input and remarkable contribution to the local and regional hospitality industry.
Guests at the high-profile awards dinner included renowned social and political figures. Speaking at the event, His Excellency Mr Joe Sarkis, Lebanese Minister of Tourism, gave credit to Horeca for being a key driving force behind Lebanon’s surging tourism industry.
After receiving the airline award, Al Baker said he was extremely honoured, on behalf of Qatar Airways, for winning the latest in a string of accolades.
“This award is a credit to the workforce at Qatar Airways in making this airline a success that it is today,”
“Qatar Airways is truly one of the leading players in the world with an exceptional growth strategy that is being watched closely and admired by industry observers.
“Last month we achieved a milestone 70th destination in our global network when we launched daily flights between our hub in Doha, and Hong Kong. Our annual growth averages an unprecedented 35 per cent and we look forward to even more significant achievements over the next few years.”
Ranked Five Star for service and excellence by independent industry audit Skytrax, Qatar Airways operates a modern fleet of 45 all-Airbus aircraft. The fleet will almost triple in size to 110 jets by 2015. Qatar Airways plans to acquire up to 80 aircraft comprising 60 of the new generation A350s and 20 Boeing 777s worth a total US$15.2 billion.
Qatar Airways is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with four aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2009 to coincide with the opening of the New Doha International Airport. ( www.ndiaproject.com )
During the 2004/2005 financial year, Qatar Airways carried 4.6 million passengers, up 35% on the previous 12-month period. Passenger numbers exceeded 6 million passengers in the 2005/2006 financial period which ended on March 31.