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Fri 7 Feb 2014 10:49 AM

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Qatar Air CEO refutes staff claims in Swedish media

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

Qatar Air CEO refutes staff claims in Swedish media

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.

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khalid al Muhairi 6 years ago

Thats why Dubai and Emirates will always be No.1.

Nezaud 6 years ago

Unfortunately, the last paragraph in this article accuses also UAE based carriers, that include Emirates.

Sami 6 years ago

The truth hurt, he's aware the Espressen story is just confirming what the Guardian story couple of months ago about the Nepalese labour that there's no labour rights in qatar.

andree 6 years ago

Then you think that The Emirates airline cabin crew are treated the same ??

Dan 6 years ago

I am one of their cabin crew and of course everything told in that article was true. We all heard knew those stories and many more. Al baker knows none of their employees are happy working under all this nonsense rules, no other airline in the world treats their employees like they do it here, how come a company has to give permission to their employees to marry and only after 5 years? or impose curfews and tell them not to have visitors after 10pm? and the rules are even worse for ground staff! at the same time we all know we are here for a short time and soon we will leave.

Chris 6 years ago

When people get defensive (in this case the CEO of Qatar Airways) there is probably some truth in the allegations made!

The Girl who flies planes 6 years ago

I fly QA all the time.
Service is impeccable.
I chat with the crew and they always say what the Swedish newspaper said.
No lies @ all.
I am a platinum privilege member.

Stephen 6 years ago

Would somebody please inform us all regarding Mr Al Baker's experience in management positions in the airline industry prior to the establishment of QA? Or was he just a passenger on planes until his appointment at QA? In fact were there any management positions anywhere in any field?

ex-flyer 6 years ago

I had conversation with Qatar crew. The curfew is completely true. In some of their staffs accomodations even fitted with finger scanner to record the movement of the crew.

During home standby, crew has to be at HOME and no visitor allowed during this time as it counts as duty time.

And yes I think this story must be true. Otherwise CEO will not feel defensive.

EKcrewAE 6 years ago

I am crew at EK and I assure you, while we have rules, they are no way as draconian as at Qatar. Females don't 'need' permission to carry on with their lives. You can marry anytime and get maternity leave. Yes, there are no Unions (like all over the Middle East). There is a curfew for visitors and there are no rules for when you need to be home, just come home safe. My sister used to to work in Qatar and when I visited her in Dubai, she told me not to enter her (company-provided) accommodation as males were not allowed in. Welcome to Qatar of 2014. Qatar is another world, just one step below Saudi Arabia. Al Baker and his minions are control-freaks. The scores of ex-Qatar Airways crew, who now work for Emirates, all say so. Good on them for leaving and joining a freer airline.