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Qatar chief says ‘crap’ US airlines hire grannies as crew

July 19, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

When it comes to being outspoken, Qatar Airways’ chief executive Akbar Al Baker seems to be following in the footsteps of Ryanair’s notoriously blunt-speaking supremo Michael O’Leary.

Al Baker has just called the American airlines he competes with “crap”, saying the passengers flying on them are “always served by grandmothers”.

Al Baker was speaking light-heartedly, it must be admitted. He was at a gala ball at the InterContinental Hotel, Dublin, to celebrate the launch of a new route last week between the Irish capital and the Qatari capital, Doha.

A bitter undertone persists, however, with Gulf carriers locked in a simmering dispute with the “big three” US airlines (Delta, United and American) over allegations that the Middle Eastern airlines are state subsidised. It’s a charge the Gulf airlines strongly deny.

Al Baker spruiked Qatar Airways’ B787 Dreamliners, including “excellent service from our international cabin crew”.

But then he drew flight attendants’ age into the equation.

“By the way, the average age of my cabin crew is only 26 years,” he said, obviously enjoying himself.

“So there is no need for you to travel on these crap American carriers…”

The audience joined in the mirth and Al Baker added a final quip: “You know you will always be served by grandmothers on American airlines.”

The comments were recorded by TravelExtra in Ireland and posted to YouTube on the 39-second clip below, capturing the jocular tone of the occasion:

Written by Peter Needham

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