17 JUL 2017: In a speech at a dinner in Dublin last week, Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker said US airlines were “crap” and their passengers were “always being served by grandmothers”. In a video of the speech, posted online, he also boasted that 'the average age of my cabin crew is only 26'. Al Baker has now apologised for his “careless” remarks about US airlines.  

US pilot groups and unions were furious, and American Airlines called the remarks “insulting” and “sexist and ageist.'”

In his letter to the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), Al Baker insisted the remarks did not reflect his 'true sentiments about cabin crew'.

"Competition among air carriers is robust. This is healthy, especially for our passengers, but our competition must remain respectful," the letter said.

"For the cabin crew serving aboard all air carriers, professionalism, skill and dedication are the qualities that matter. I was wrong to imply that other factors, like age, are relevant."

All this comes amidst American Airlines’ cancelled codeshare agreement with both Qatar Airways and Etihad. American accused the Gulf airlines of receiving unfair state subsidies.

Al Baker said he was disappointed with the decision but said he would continue with plans to buy a 10 percent stake in American Airlines.

Qatar Airways holds a 20 percent stake in IAG, the parent of British Airways, and 10 percent of South America's LATAM Airlines.

 

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