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  • Al Baker vs Airbus: Who Really Won?
    Posted by Robert Wall 1:47 PM on Nov 16, 2011

    After yesterday's fireworks between Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker and Airbus, the question is, who really came out ahead?

    Al Baker's verbal broadside included such colorful language as saying Airbus was just learning to build aircraft. He also publicly humiliated the aircraft maker by first standing up the company at a joint press conference, only to follow with the accusations minutes later during an event with Boeing.

    Al Baker also says talks were at an "impasse" for a deal to buy A380s and A320NEOs. When, four hours later, he signed the deal anyway, he went out of his way to praise EADS strategy chief Marwan Lahoud, rather than someone at Airbus, for the deal coming together

    Meanwhile, it fell to Airbus COO for customers, John Leahy, to say nice things about Al Baker and endure the public haranguing. In opening the delayed press conference, he stoically said: "Under the guidance of Akbar who has demonstrated unwaivering professionalism and leadership...his management team has shown a tireless commitment to the success of the airline..."

    In the end, Al Baker may have gotten what he wanted -- keeping  also his reputation as one of the more 'outspoken' airline execs in tact --  but so did Leahy, booking 55 firm orders and 33 options and a deal worth more than $6.4 billion. Certainly that's not a bad return for a bit of public lashing. 

    Tags: tw99, dubai11, Airbus

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