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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Qatar Airways CEO hits out at Swedish report about the airline

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For illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A recent newspaper article published in Sweden about the treatment of Qatar Airways employees has drawn the ire of company CEO Akbar Al Baker, who told journalists yesterday that the story was actually a critique against his country, and not the airline.

Speaking to Qatar Today, Al Baker added that the reporter who wrote the article was “throwing stones for no reason at all.”

The article in Expressen highlighted the experiences of three anonymous former employees of the airline – two cabin crew members, and one pilot. They recounted 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.

When asked to respond to the allegations during the A350 welcome event yesterday, Al Baker replied:

In the Espressen story, a Qatar Airways spokeswoman Lotta Berglin said that the airline couldn’t comment on the allegations made, as the former staff members involved were unnamed and therefore unidentifiable.

Union criticism

The report comes months after labor groups criticized Qatar’s national carrier and its regional rivals Emirates and Etihad for prohibiting employees from organizing and demanding better working conditions.

Last year, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) also lambasted 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.

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