Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has officially apologized for calling U.S. flight attendants grandmothers and stating that U.S. carriers are crap airlines. (Read: Qatar Airways CEO speeches on a gala ball to celebrate the inaugural flight between Doha and Dublin)
His speech was poorly received by a lot of people, especially cabin crew, pilots, aviation journalist and specialists:
I should like to apologise unreservedly to those offended by my recent remarks which compared Qatar Airways cabin crew with cabin crew on US carriers.
The remarks were made informally at a private gala dinner, following comments about the Qatar Airways cabin service, and were in no way intended to cause offence.
Flight attendants play a huge role in the safety and comfort of passengers, irrespective of their age or gender or familial status…. I have a high regard for the value that I see long-serving staff members bringing through their experience and dedication.
The following statement by the Association of professional flight attendants (APFA) hit the nail on the head.
APFA National President Bob Ross Responds to Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker’s Sexist, Ageist Remarks
July 11, 2017 (Fort Worth, TX) “As if we didn’t need an incentive already to speak out against Qatar Airways, the latest statement by its CEO Akbar al-Baker should do the trick. Speaking at a Dublin event launching service for his airline in Ireland, he called his U.S. competitors “crap airlines” and noted that his flight attendants’ average age was 26. He then announced that on U.S. carriers you would be served by “grandmothers.” Calling his remarks reprehensible and sexist would be an understatement.
“Each day our passengers board our aircraft with confidence, knowing that they are in the care of well-seasoned and highly trained professionals. Would Mr. Akbar al-Baker question the age of the flight attendants who thwarted Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber,” or those who evacuated the aircraft that landed on the Hudson River? We are proud of our members who are not revered for their youth, but for their roles as safety professionals and first responders.
“Maybe it is time to reconsider Qatar’s membership in the One World Alliance since he views U.S. airlines as “crap carriers.” Al-Baker’s crude remarks underscores why we are continuing to fight the Gulf carriers and their illegal government subsidies.”