Officials at the International Air Transport Association have announced that Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, has assumed his duties as chairman of the IATA board of governors.
His one one-year term started at the conclusion of the 74th IATA Annual General Meeting in Sydney, Australia.
Al Baker is the 77th chair of the IATA board and the first chief executive from Qatar Airways to hold the position.
He has served on the board since 2012.
He succeeds Goh Choon Phong, chief executive of Singapore Airlines.
Al Baker said: “I am delighted to be here in Sydney and honoured to be leading the IATA board of governors as chairman for the year ahead.
“To be nominated to such a prestigious leadership position in the industry is a great honour, made all the more pertinent in the difficult circumstances in which Qatar Airways currently operates.
“I look forward to continuing my work in the coming year for our great aviation industry, connecting safely the peoples of the world, a sector which will only continue to grow in the years ahead, and one in which I am most proud to work and represent one of the world leading airlines.”
Al Baker was named Qatar Airways’ group chief executive in 1997.
In this position, Al Baker has spearheaded the growth of Qatar Airways from a small regional carrier into a major global force.
He was president of the 70th annual general meeting, which was held in Doha in 2014.
“I want to thank Goh Choon Phong for his strong support and leadership over the past year.
“He has led major changes in IATA’s governance that will enable the association to work even more closely with its members.
“Under his leadership the industry approved a major modernisation of our settlement systems and made excellent progress on transformative initiatives such as New Distribution Capability and ONE Order.
“Choon Phong’s insights were particularly helpful as we contended with the PEDs ban and growing infrastructure capacity shortfalls in key regions, while also working with governments to prepare for the arrival of the historic CORSIA program to help airlines manage their future emissions growth,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general.
“I am confident that Akbar will be a strong voice on behalf of the business of freedom in the face of growing challenges including creeping re-regulation and a movement away from open borders and toward trade protectionism and restrictions on the free movement of people.
“I look forward to working with him on these and other key industry issues,” said de Juniac.
IATA also announced that Carsten Spohr, chairman of Lufthansa, will serve as chairman of the board from June 2019, following Al Baker’s term.
Qatar Airways Group chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, explains his ambitions for the role as IATA chairman.