Qatar Air CEO refutes staff claims in Swedish media

Akbar Al Baker hits back at allegations made by unnamed former cabin crew and pilot

The CEO of Qatar Airways has dismissed claims made in a Swedish newspaper that alleged unfair treatment of its employees.

The article in the Expressen newspaper was based around the experiences of three unnamed former employees of the airline – two cabin crew members and one pilot.

They told tales of punishments for breaking curfews, being under constant surveillance, and facing restrictions on relationships between crew members.

Employees could also be fired with no warning, they said.

But Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said the reporter who wrote the article was "throwing stones for no reason at all".

When asked to respond to the allegations, Al Baker was quoted by Qatar Today as saying: “Like any other organisation, we terminate nonperforming employees and these are allegations made by ex-QA staff."

He added: "This is not against Qatar Airways but against my home country. They are throwing stones at my country for no reason at all.”

Responding on Twitter to the remarks by Al Baker, Swedish journalist Johanna Karlsson said: “Not everyone interviewed in the piece are, to use Al Baker's words, terminated crew.”

In the Espressen story, a Qatar Airways spokeswoman said that the airline couldn’t comment on the allegations made, as the former staff members involved were unnamed.

The media report follows claims last year by an international labour union which criticised Qatar’s national carrier.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) slammed Qatar Airways for certain stipulations found in the standard hiring contracts for female cabin crew members, including the need to apply for permission before getting married.

The ITF lobbied the ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization) to take action on what it termed “flagrant abuses of aviation workers’ labour rights” by carriers based in Qatar and the UAE.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Canadian Observer

As a trade unionist I am experienced enough to know that complaints like this from workers are usually true and the standard denials from corporate public relations departments have no credibility whatsoever.

The only way to resolve this situation is for all workers in Qatar (including foreign workers) to have the right to join a trade union so that they can collectively work to improve the abysmal labour conditions.

Posted by: Michelle - EY cabin crew

Most of the people that complain about qatar airways are always the people who get terminated from the airline. Its mostly the western people who do not show any respect to the middle eastern culture, religion and company rules and yet in return what all their needs respected. I have had very bad experience from some qatar airways crew especially our own girls and guys but when it has been say an Indian or person from the far east they have always given the best service. Look at what BA went through and how Europe's airlines are going down the drains, it is because we abuse the rules and are ungrateful for what we are given and hence we start a war using unions and drags our own airlines down and now we want to do the same for the middle east too. Its all the EX-crew complaining and moaning.... look if you don't like the rules then leave but remember this you cannot try and change someone else just because you THINK they are wrong. seriously GROW UP and TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY!!!!

Posted by: Patrick @QA ex - Cabin

I worked fir QA for more than 10 years as Licensed Aircraft Engineer.I was assigned at Cabin and give my full effort and dedication to my works . . I was terminated last April 1023 due to Falsification of Documents?? Can you imagine after 10 years they just now do a Back Ground Check on my file ?? Funny isn't it??

I knew that their is someone behind this.. and the Management just kick me off on my Job with out any compensation.. I was totally down and helpless that time.. BUT ONE THING I THANKS FOR IS THAT.... I WAS FREE FROM HELl !!!!
QA is a HELL...

Posted by: Qatar Airways Gold Member

Funny, regarding the guy saying that if the crew was being loud in the galley you'd have to pick who should be fired. That was not the case when one member of the cabin crew was standing there talking about preferring not to date Indian men because they have "small sized" penises in the galley, this while the back of the plane was full of mothers. Cabin crew need to stop overdramatising the situation, some of them need to behave in a decent manner before complaining because we see them around Doha & Dubai & how they behave in bars, clubs, parties & other events. So save us the exaggerated sob stories.

Posted by: who2

I cant believe this comment in its entirety was even published.
Or maybe I can!

Posted by: Another ex cabin crew

I am also Ex Qatar Airways Cabin Crew. Firstly I would like to say that all QA crew sign a non-disclosure agreement upon joining Qatar Airways and are threatened with legal action if they do speak out about anything regarding the company. This is why ex crew do not want to be named.

All the accusations made in the article are true. I had to resign from the company after an incident with a passenger. A passenger slapped me on the back and I asked for some kind of action to be taken and instead of the warning given to the passenger, I had to kneel in front of the passenger and apologize. After which I was called into the office given a warning letter. A direct quote from the VP cabin services Mr Saliya ;" In the Middle East there are only 3 mayor airlines, so our passengers can call you however they want." I was appalled by this statement. I had to apologize just to make sure I was not sacked. All these things that are being said are true and so much more.

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
The cost of the US laptop ban

The cost of the US laptop ban

Aviation analysts and airline bosses are warning of significant...

Q&A: The laptop ban and what it means when flying from Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Q&A: The laptop ban and what it means when flying from Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Couldn't a laptop with a bomb inside still pose a danger within...

After all the hype, what's the future for Hyperloop One

After all the hype, what's the future for Hyperloop One

Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One may have struck a deal this month...

Most Discussed
  • 9
    Revealed: huge disparity in Dubai school fees

    I recall a recent study by Alpen Capital suggesting that the average cost of a child's entire life of schooling in Dubai is about AED 1 million. Although... more

    Monday, 29 May 2017 9:21 AM - New Expat
  • 3
    How Saudi Arabia blundered into OPEC oil cut

    Well written piece. Clearly the pressure on OPEC countries holding to their quotas will become even harder. Nigeria etc. are desperate to pump & sell a... more

    Monday, 29 May 2017 9:18 AM - Victory Red