Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker is apologising for referring to US airline flight attendants as “grandmothers.”
At a gala in Dublin, Ireland last week to celebrate Qatar Airways’ launch of its Dublin-Doha route, Al Baker told the audience that “the average age of my cabin crew is only 26 years.”
“So there is no need for you to travel on these crap American carriers,” Al Baker said. “You know you’re always being served by grandmothers on American carriers.”
Al Baker apologised “unreservedly” for his remarks after being blasted by labour unions and American Airlines.
“Cabin crew are the public face of all airlines, and I greatly respect their hard work and professionalism,” Al Baker said on Wednesday.
“They play a huge role in the safety and comfort of passengers, irrespective of their age or gender or familial status. I have worked for many years in the industry, and I have a high regard for the value that I see long-serving staff members bringing through their experience and dedication.”
American Airlines said overnight it was ending marketing agreements with Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, Bloomberg reported.
It comes after a long disagreement over whether the Persian Gulf carriers use government subsidies to compete unfairly.