Akbar Al Baker

Companies: Qatar Airways

When Akbar Al Baker joined the company in 1996, Qatar Airways was a small carrier unfamiliar to most travellers outside the Gulf region. Today it bills itself as ‘the world’s five-star airline’, which is testament to its global reach as well as the standard of its services. And that is an achievement due in no small part to the drive and tenacity of its CEO.

Already this year Qatar Airways has announced that it will expand its network into South America, with the launch of flights to Sao Paulo, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Expansion plans for 2010 saw the airline launch flights to Bangalore in February, with further new services to Copenhagen, Ankara, Tokyo and Barcelona set to be introduced over the coming months.

The carrier has said that travellers will also benefit from capacity increases to destinations including Shanghai and the Maldives this year.

Passenger numbers have increased on average 35 percent year on year over the past decade. In addition, the company recently announced that its fleet has doubled over the past five years and now includes 80 aircraft.

The carrier’s expansion has also meant further extensions of Doha International Airport to cope with the increasing volumes of traffic generated by the airline’s growth.