Posted on June 14, 2011

Qatar Airways held a lively forum inaugurating its National Scholarship Programme for Qatari students. The highly anticipated event was attended by over 200 people comprising a number of the country’s education dignitaries, Qatari youth, their families and VIPs. Held at the airline-owned Oryx Rotana Hotel in Doha, the event was hosted by Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker

Al Baker gave a passionate and truly inspiring address, detailing how Qatari youth will make a difference in shaping the future of their national carrier’s success. “Our National Scholarship programme is in line with Qatar’s National Vision 2030, which highlights the importance of investing in Qatar’s people and underscores our commitment to provide Qatari youth with the means to pursue studies at the finest international universities. Looking back at my own development path, I must say I was lucky to know at an early stage what career I wanted to pursue. Always fascinated by the aviation industry, after completing my studies in economics and commerce, I started my career as a civil servant at various levels in Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority,” said Al Baker.

Three Qatari graduates – a captain, engineer and management trainee – who have taken off with exciting jobs with the airline within a short period, also shared their stories over the course of the evening, telling the audience about their unique journeys and rewarding career highlights.

One of the speakers, Samah Al Sada, a Qatar Airways Licensed Aircraft Engineer, spoke candidly about her path to success which began with studies at Qatar’s Aeronautical College, followed by hands-on training, leading to specialised skills in technical maintenance on the airline’s entire Airbus fleet. “I believed in my ability to do this highly exciting and rewarding career, and the airline has allowed me to grow and continue taking my skills to the next level. I feel truly proud to take part in shaping one of Qatar’s national entities,” said Al Sada.

Abdulla Gholam Ali, Qatar Airways Management Trainee, spoke during the evening about his educational pursuits and work experience with the airline so far. “The great thing about working with Qatar Airways is the opportunity to work with teams across many different business functions, Sales, Marketing, Operations, Corporate Planning, Finance, and Qatar Airways offices around the world. Along with my post-graduate studies in Air Transport Management, my hands-on training has given me a broad perspective into the many functions involved in airline operations,” he said.

Qatar Airways Captain Khalid Al Ibrahim shared with the audience his story about childhood ambitions to become a pilot, and how he carried that through and rose through the ranks with the airline to becoming a captain. “My dream career from a young age was to fly airplanes. One of the most memorable days of my life was when I received the acceptance letter to begin my flying career with Qatar Airways. At that time I was a new graduate from Qatar’s Aeronautical College, and ever since, I have progressed with the airline to recently being designated as Acting Deputy Chief Pilot Fleets. It is such an honour to be working for the airline of my home country,” said Captain Al Ibrahim.

Qatar Airways’ National Scholarship Programme is designed to financially support youth in their post-secondary educational pursuits, with an optional work experience component that provides internships throughout their programmes, as well as a rotation programme in the airline upon graduation. More information about the programme can be found at

The newly-revamped scheme is the latest phase of the carrier’s Qatari student programme offerings, which was preceded by initiatives that offered student internships and financial grants. Now more comprehensive and designed with a wider scope, it includes 50 scholarships in its first year, a number that will only exponentially grow over the years.

The scheme will be run and administered internally by Qatar Airways National Scholarship Programme Senior Manager, Dr. Kholode Al-Obaidli. Also a presenter at the event last night, she highlighted detailed information to students and their parents about the requirements, unique offerings, application process and host of opportunities available with the airline post-graduation.

“Enthusiasm and interest in the programme in its early stages has been warmly received by Qatar Airways and we believe in the power that the Qatari youth bring in charting not just a successful course for their own careers, but for the airline as well, Qatar Airways has developed the National Scholarship Programme as part of the airline’s strategic Qatarisation plan, which contributes to the mandate of Qatar’s National Vision 2030. Establishing the airline’s National Scholarship Programme fulfills an essential purpose for both the airline and our home country – to identify and develop Qatari talent, generate future leaders and provide valuable work opportunities for career development,” said Dr. Al-Obaidli.

Qatar Airways Licensed Aircraft Engineer, Samah Al Sada

Fuelled by its rapid expansion, Qatar Airways is forging ahead with an aggressive recruitment drive and plans to take on an additional 3,500 staff annually over a three-year period across the group.

With 19,000 employees currently working with the Qatar Airways Group of companies, the increase represents a 50 per cent addition to the head count by 2014.

As a truly global airline covering six continents, Qatar Airways employs over 100 nationalities around the world. By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve more than 120 key business and leisure destinations worldwide with a modern fleet of over 120 aircraft.

Today, the airline’s fleet stands at 98 aircraft flying to over 100 destinations worldwide.