This Airline CEO Said Only a Man Can Do His Job

06 June, 2018, 18:46 | Author: Regina Lloyd
  • Akbar Al Baker later defended the carrier saying it was the first Middle Eastern airline to have a female pilot and that other women were in senior roles

During the International Air Transport Association's annual conference in Sydney on Monday, a reporter asked Al Baker what he plans to do to bring more gender equality to airlines and bring more women into high-level positions, specifically in Middle Eastern airline companies.

But his remarks sparked backlash on social media.

Although Al Baker quickly backtracked on his comments, stating that it would be his pleasure to "have a female CEO candidate [he] could then develop to become CEO", the Twitter community did not take too kindly to the embattled airlines chief.

Qatar Airways was criticized in 2015 when it was revealed that at one time it could fire female cabin crew who were pregnant and it would restrict the movements of crew during non-working hours, according to The Guardian.

Leading carriers in North America and Europe had the highest representation of women in senior roles at 16 percent and 14 percent respectively, IATA said.

He said: 'Diversity and inclusion are part of our core values and I have no doubt that a woman could carry out my role.

The conference - often dominated by profit predictions and headwinds facing the sector - included a focus on gender diversity as only six of its 280-member airlines have female chief executives.




'As a matter of fact (at) Air Italy the majority shareholder has shortlisted women to be CEO and as minority shareholder we are actively encouraging that'.

Qatar's flagship airline was ranked the top airline in the world by Skytrax in 2017, and has claimed top spots consistently over the last decade.

Sharing a podium, Willie Walsh, the head of British Airways owner IAG, said the industry had a long way to go in promoting women, starting with IATA, a quasi-international organization with two women on its 31-person board.

The CEO of Qatar Airways, where women make up almost half the company's workforce, apologized for saying that a woman couldn't do his job because it was "very challenging".

When asked about gender inequality at airlines in the Middle East, he retorted: "not in Qatar Airways".

The boss of Qatar Airways, who sits on the board of Heathrow, has offered his "heartfelt apologies" for his suggestion that a woman would not be able to do his job, which inflamed a row over sexism in the aviation industry.

"I think it's all going to come from the leadership commitment to ingrain that change throughout the organisation", she said at an event focused on gender equality in aviation at the meeting in Sydney.

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