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Qatar Airways Appoints New CEO to Succeed Industry Icon

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Qatar Airways Appoints New CEO to Succeed Industry Icon

Qatar Airways Appoints New CEO to Succeed Industry Icon. In a swift transition, Qatar Airways announced the appointment of Badr Mohammed Al-Meer as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) following the confirmation of Akbar Al Baker’s retirement. Al-Meer is set to take on the role of CEO starting November 5, 2023, marking the conclusion of Akbar Al Baker’s remarkable 27-year tenure as the head of Qatar’s flagship carrier.

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End of an Era: Akbar Al Baker Departure

After a distinguished 27-year service, Qatar Airways Group officially confirmed the retirement of Akbar Al Baker as the Group Chief Executive. His exit from the position is scheduled for November 5, 2023. To succeed him, Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer has been appointed as the new Group Chief Executive for Qatar Airways.

Al-Meer Background and Current Role

Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, the incoming CEO, currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Hamad International Airport, located in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Celebrating Akbar Al Baker Legacy

Qatar Airways paid tribute to Akbar Al Baker’s exceptional leadership, acknowledging the airline’s evolution into one of the world’s most recognized and trusted brands, synonymous with top-tier customer service and quality standards. During Al Baker’s tenure as CEO, Qatar Airways received the prestigious ‘World’s Best Airline’ award on seven occasions. Furthermore, Hamad International Airport, managed and operated under his leadership, was also honored with the title of the ‘World’s Best Airport.’

Akbar Al Baker Diverse Background

Before becoming CEO of Qatar Airways in 1996, Akbar Al Baker held significant governmental roles, including a position as Chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority. Interestingly, Al Baker has ties to India, having completed his early education at St. Peter’s School in Mumbai and pursued a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from an institute in the same city.

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Read Also: Qatar Airways Cabin Crew Recruitment 2023

Conclusion

The appointment of Badr Mohammed Al-Meer as the new CEO signifies a significant change in Qatar Airways’ leadership, marking the transition from the long-standing and celebrated leadership of Akbar Al Baker to a new era under Al-Meer’s stewardship.

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Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed

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Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed

Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed. In a recent development, Qatar Airways, a long-standing user of Inmarsat-now-Viasat Global Xpress (GX) Ka-band satellite-based inflight connectivity service, has indicated its intention to offer SpaceX’s Starlink Aviation onboard Internet to its passengers on a complimentary basis. This offering will be accessible to passengers with a simple “one-click” process.

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Rollout on Specific Aircraft and Routes

According to an official press release from Qatar Airways, the low-latency In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) service will be introduced on “specific aircraft and routes.” The airline has also mentioned that they are currently in the pre-launch phase of the rollout strategy in collaboration with Starlink. SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales, Jonathan Hofeller, has expressed that Starlink is “set to support the entire Qatar Airways fleet.”

This news emerged following the APEX/IFSA Global EXPO event in Long Beach, where Qatar Airways Group’s Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. During this event, Starlink executives met with airline representatives in a nearby hotel.

Changing Landscape in In-Flight Connectivity

The Qatar Airways-Starlink collaboration signifies a shift in the in-flight connectivity landscape. Traditional GEO satellites are being challenged by Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations like SpaceX’s Starlink. For example, Flexjet has announced plans to replace the Viasat hardware on some of its aircraft with Starlink.

Viasat acquisition of Inmarsat, coupled with these changes, has led to some Inmarsat value-added resellers reevaluating their positions. SITA, a service provider to Qatar Airways, has already disclosed its intention to exit the cabin connectivity market by January 2025.

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Seeking Clarity from Qatar Airways

Runway Girl Network reached out to Qatar Airways to seek clarification on several points. They inquired about:

  • Qatar Airways plan regarding the replacement of Inmarsat (now Viasat) GX inflight connectivity hardware with Starlink.
  • Whether Starlink will be deployed across Qatar Airways’ entire fleet.
  • Commencement dates for supplemental type certifications and Starlink installations.
  • Which aircraft type will be the first to receive the new hardware.
  • The impact of SITA’s decision to cease being a GX value-added reseller on Qatar Airways’ decision to select Starlink.
  • Qatar Airways’ plans for continuing to roll out Inmarsat GX on its 787-9s.

Qatar Airways Response

In response to these queries, a Qatar Airways spokesperson stated via email that they would keep Runway Girl Network updated on any future operational developments. In a follow-up exchange, when further clarity on the deal was sought, the spokesperson requested the removal of a specific phrase from their press release.

Implications and Future Plans

In the absence of comprehensive details, it seems logical for Qatar Airways to consider introducing Starlink initially on its 787-8s. This fleet has seen recent in-seat In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) upgrades but still lacks true broadband connectivity.

Once Starlink is operational on Qatar Airways aircraft, passengers can anticipate complimentary access to ultra-fast Wi-Fi speeds of up up to 350 Mbps, which can be used for various Internet-based services including video streaming, gaming, web browsing, and more. In contrast, the airline presently charges $10 for inflight access to its ‘Super Wi-Fi.

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Read Also: Qatar Airways Elevates In-Flight Connectivity with Starlink Partnership

Conclusion

Qatar Airways, in its press release, also proudly asserts its position as “the largest airline to collaborate with Starlink.” Other notable Starlink customers include Part 135 operator JSX, Hawaiian Airlines (launch delayed until early next year), airBaltic, and ZIPAIR.

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