Qatar Airways boss says his airline 'should be led by a man'
Jun 06, 2018, 12:55
Qatar Airways has halved the losses it predicted for the last financial year, Mr Al Baker said at the event.
The comments came minutes after Al Baker - who has a reputation for hitting out at rivals and suppliers over poor performance - had joked that one of his roles as the new chairman of IATA was to be less controversial.
The airline was also the first to employ female pilots and one of the first to train female engineers, al Baker said, adding that several ranking positions within the company, including Senior Vice President, are held by women.
"Of course it has to be led by a man, because it is a very challenging position", Akbar Al Baker said in reference to his role as CEO at a press conference following a meeting of the International Air Transport Association's board of governors-a group to which he had been named chair.
The boss of Qatar Airways has been caught up in an ugly gaffe, after saying his company needed to be led by a man "because it is a very challenging position".
"What are some of the resolutions, some of the ideas, that IATA will try to bring to the forefront, to have more women represented in airlines?" the reporter asked.
In 2014, Qatar Airways defended policies on pregnancy and marriage for cabin crew after coming under fire over working conditions in the conservative Gulf emirate.
Though Al Baker's remarks prompted disapproval during the news conference, he's far from the first senior executive to find himself under fire for such statements.
"So we actually encourage women".
Qantas chief Alan Joyce said at the same press conference that the Australian carrier had achieved a strong turnaround in profits partly due to its pursuit of diversity, with women making up 40 percent of senior management. Two-fifths of Qantas Airways' senior management is female, including the heads of the global and frequent-flier loyalty businesses, according to the airline's chief executive, Alan Joyce.
"It would be my pleasure if I could help develop a female candidate to be the next CEO of Qatar Airways", the statement concluded.
Qatar Airways staff are more than 33 per cent female, he said.
"But there's a degree of optimism in our ability to handle it, we're stronger than we were a few years ago as an industry".
But Mr Joyce said it was "going to take a long time to fix some of the issues that are inherent in our society", such as girls not studying science and technology in schools, which impacted their numbers in engineering and flying roles.
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