* Akbar al-Baker is the 77th chair of the IATA board and first CEO from Qatar Airways to hold the prestigious position
The global aviation industry will have to finds ways to reduce costs and make sure the airlines maintain upward trend in their performance, said IATA’s new chairman Akbar al-Baker.
At a media event held at Sydney’s International Convention Centre, the venue of IATA’s 74th annual general meeting and the World Air Transport Summit, al-Baker said, “The global trade body would have to collectively face challenges facing the key aviation industry.”
Some of the challenges, he said, are human trafficking, making airlines more secure during turbulent times in the global political scene, fighting terrorism, and regional conflicts, higher oil price that put a lot of pressure on the industry and private airports that strain airlines by levying excessive charges.
Al-Baker said, "I am delighted to be here in Sydney and honoured to be leading the IATA (International Air Transport Association) 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. I will make sure that I put all my endeavours to serve the international aviation community to the best of my ability.
“I will make sure I will play a very constructive role looking at the best interests of not only the airlines of this great association, but also the people who have made this industry so successful.”
On Gulf Times’ question pertaining to the blockade on Qatar by a quartet of Arab countries, which completed one year on June 5, al-Baker said, “I don’t like to get into any political statements (on the issue) as the international community has already made up their mind on what they feel was wrong.
“However, IATA as an industry leader in aviation has not taken this subject lightly. I am sure the director general will continue his efforts to make sure the interests of aviation and airlines are maintained, regardless of the political situation around the world.”
Al-Baker is the 77th chair of the IATA BoG and the first CEO from Qatar Airways to hold the position. He has served on the BoG since 2012.
He assumed his duties as chairman of the IATA board for a one-year term, effective from June 5.
Al-Baker was named Qatar Airways’ group chief executive in 1997. In this position, he has spearheaded the growth of Qatar Airways from a small regional carrier into a major global airline.
He was president of the 70th AGM which was held in Doha in 2014.
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