The CEO of Qatar Airways has been elected to chair the board of one of the world’s largest airline trade bodies.  

Akbar Al Baker was elected this week to lead the board of governors of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). He will officially start the role as of June 2018, according to Doha News.

Al Baker said he was "honored" to be chosen to lead the trade body by his fellow board members.

Akbar Al Baker
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker Source: WikiMedia

"For more than two decades I have lived and breathed aviation, and I look forward to working alongside the Board of Governors to champion passenger rights and improve security standards across the industry, as well as continuing to promote the rights of freedom of flight for all," Al Baker said in a statement.

Representing 275 airlines, IATA members comprise over 80 percent of global air traffic. According to Qatar Airways, Al Baker's election to head the organization's board demonstrates "the leading role that he plays in a dynamic and highly competitive industry."

The decision will also see Al Baker preside over the CEOs of competitor airlines that he has publicly clashed with, such as American Airlines, EgyptAir and Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Al Baker is seen as absolutely key to the success and rapid development of Qatar Airways, which has gone from a small regional carrier to one of the most internationally renowned airlines in the world in the span of 20 years.

The Qatari CEO will succeed current Chairman Goh Choon Phong, CEO of Singapore Airlines.