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June 17, 2024
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You have airline leaders who mind the store. And you have airline LEADERS who leave a lasting impression, a real legacy. Men like Juan Trippe, Robert Crandall, Herb Kelleher, Sir Tim Clark, and – I dare to say – Michael O’Leary. It’s in this category that I file Akbar Al Baker too, the Group Chief Executive of Qatar Airways who will step down on November 5 for reasons not fully clear.

There will have been a sigh of relief in some OEM boardrooms when the news of Al Baker stepping down broke this afternoon. Because those who have done business with him over the past 27 years know all too well how relentless, demanding, unforgiving, and sometimes rude the little man with the bold head could be.

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Richard Schuurman
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016. Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.