Qatar Airways boss apologizes for remarks on women CEOs

Marcus Newton
June 6, 2018

Alan Joyce, the CEO of Qantas Airways who campaigned for marriage equality in Australia, said ensuring a diverse workforce in general could help to drive profits.

Qatar Airways posted the apology to its Twitter account on Wednesday.

When asked about what could be done to increase the poor representation of women in the Middle East's aviation industry, Al Baker replied that Qatar Airways "has to be led by a man, because it is a very challenging position", Bloomberg reports.

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.

Yesterday, the boss of Heathrow John Holland-Kaye, distanced himself from Al Baker's comments.

During the meeting, IATA announced that Al Baker's role as chairman of the board of governors will be for a duration of one year.

Mr Al Baker rattled those attending a press conference on Tuesday when he claimed only a man could handle the challenges of leading Qatar Airways. SkyTeam appointed Delta executive Kristin Colvile as chief executive of the airline alliance earlier this month. "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".

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He added there was no gender inequality at the Gulf carrier, which has a close business partnership with British Airways. We see that they have huge potential in doing senior management positions.

"I think one of the reasons Qantas QAN.AX turned it around so dramatically is that we've embraced diversity".

"It will be my pleasure to have a female CEO candidate I could then develop to become CEO after me". In contrast, he had said the average age of Qatar Airways cabin crews was 26 in comments criticised as both sexist and ageist.

"If we're leaving out nearly 50 per cent of the population in our search for the next generation of 640,000 pilots, we're clearly not tapping into all of the talent that's available", Alan Joyce, the airline's chief executive, said in a statement this year.

He defended his airline's record of gender diversity, saying 44 percent of its staff were female including some in senior positions.

The airline was also the first to employ female pilots and one of the first to train female engineers, the CEO said.

But he 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.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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