Only a man can run an airline, Qatar Airways CEO says

Only a man can run an airline, Qatar Airways CEO says

Only a man can run an airline, Qatar Airways CEO says

In fact, during the same IATA press conference, where he made his sexist remarks, the airline's executive promised to abstain from his controversial style, whilst chairing the organization.

He said Qatar Airways, which has stakes in British Airways parent IAG, Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd and South America's LATAM Airlines Group SA, was open to strategic investment in other airlines.

Al Baker also attempted to fix the damage in a subsequent interview, telling Bloomberg News that he had only been referencing one person, rather than the entire staff.

"Qatar Airways firmly believes in gender equality in the workplace and our airline has been a pioneer in our region in this regard".

Although Mr. Al Baker's comments elicited disapproving noises during the news conference, he's far from the only senior businessman to make such remarks. It was completely tone deaf given the current climate, since conversations surrounding women's rights, sexual harassment and equal pay are just starting to gain traction in many parts of the world - not least Saudi Arabia, where this week the first driving licenses were issued to women, weeks before the ban on female drivers is to be lifted on June 24.

In 2017 he apologized after calling USA flight attendants "grandmothers" during a trade row with US airlines, prompting an airline union to accuse him of sexism and age discrimination.

Asked on Wednesday whether he truly believed that only a man could do his job, Mr al-Baker said, "No, I don't believe that".

He eventually went on to tell Bloomberg: "We actually encourage women".

He faced PR turbulence previous year after calling USA flight attendants "grandmothers" during a trade row with USA airlines - a remark for which he also said sorry. When the IATA board posed for a group photo last week, there was just one woman among 26 airline chiefs - Christine Ourmières-Widener, CEO of United Kingdom regional carrier Flybe Group Plc.

The diversity issue cast a shadow over the IATA meeting, the association also has only two women on its 31-member board. "We have more diversity on the board now than we have had for a long time, and we have to strive to improve that situation". At a press conference in Sydney on Tuesday, Al Baker responded to a question about gender equality in the airline industry by insisting that only a man could do his job.

That's when Al Baker said that "of course" it "has to be led by a man".

"I was only referring to one individual", he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

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