Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has said the biggest threat to the airline is the amount of theft that takes place on board its flights.
In an interview with US broadcaster CNBC at this week’s Dubai Airshow, Al Baker said the issue of passengers steals from other passengers on their flights has had a far bigger impact than the recent regional turmoil which has seen flights divert away from the Sinai Peninsula.
He said passengers have had items stolen during a flight by fellow passengers who go through baggage in the overhead bins in order to steal items.
“Our biggest threat today for us is pilferage inside airplanes,” said Al Baker. “This is a new phenomenon which at Qatar Airways we discovered around a year ago and now we are providing our fellow colleagues in the region and our airline partners about this growing security issue where passengers are travelling from point a to point b and then going through passengers baggage in the bins and pilferaging valuable items and money.”
Al Baker said the offenders are mainly from a particular, unnamed country, and the carrier has taken action to make passengers more aware of the issue.
“That is happening in flight and this phenomenon we discovered around a year ago and mostly it is from a certain country that we have been able to apprehend large number of individuals.
“… what we are doing is warning passengers as part of our PA and passenger announcements and training our crew to be very vigilant on flights, especially on night time flights when the cabin lights are dimmed,” he said.
While there were no orders announced by Qatar Airways at Dubai Airshow, Al Baker suggested that there may be some news at Farnborough in July next year.
“Unfortunately we’re not buying anything during this airshow [at Dubai], we have done all of our shopping and the last one was very recently in the Le Bourget; we need a little bit of breathing space. When we are ready, hopefully by Farnborough, maybe we will have something to talk about,” he said.
Al Baker said it will also unveil the “world's best premium product” soon for its first class cabins, which he said it will obtain intellectual property for to prevent other airlines from copying their ideas.
“We are always raising the bar for other airlines. Keeping in mind that we were the first airliner after British Airways to have a horizontal flat seat in first class. We introduced all this in 2001 and 2002 and our competitors only started introducing from 2005 onwards,” he said.
“We always innovate products that everybody copies but we have become smarter this time as we are developing a new premium product [that] we are getting it IP'd so that nobody can copy the design or the ideas that we are introducing in our future airplanes.”
Source: Arabian Business