Qatar Air CEO Says a Woman Could Never Do His Job

Qatar Air CEO Says a Woman Could Never Do His Job

Qatar Air CEO Says a Woman Could Never Do His Job

"I don't know really by when because it (the process) takes time", he told PTI on the sidelines of the IATA annual general meeting in Sydney when asked by when the application for a licence would be moved. The highest-profile female chief executive in the industry in recent years has been Carolyn McCall, who ran the low-priced carrier easyJet before leaving to lead the British broadcaster ITV this year.

Made at the annual meeting of the International Air Transport Association, only a few minutes after Al Baker was named chairman of the organisation, the comment drew gasps of surprise from those present and nearly universal criticism thereafter.

Mr al Baker is one of the airline industry's most colourful characters - known for a strong sense of humour - but has form for controversial comments.

The head of Qatar Airways apologized on Wednesday for saying that a woman could not do his job, while global airlines pledged to speed up efforts to break down gender imbalances in aviation.

"I would like to offer my heartfelt apologies for any offense caused by my comment yesterday, which runs counter to my track record of expanding the role of women in leadership throughout the Qatar Airways Group and has been sensationalised by the media", he said in a statement put out on his behalf by the airline.

Listen to audio of Al Baker's comments below.

Gloria Guevara Manzo, the first female president of the World Travel and Tourism Council, said investors needed to start pushing companies to do more.

'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'.

He said the proposed airline would be fully financed by Qatar's sovereign fund.

Cathay CEO Rupert Hogg said there were no immediate vacancies on the top team but there were women managers a level below and diversity was valued at the airline, which has staff from 75 nationalities and is a supporter of the Gay Games 2022 in Hong Kong. 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.

'If you look at the board it is predominantly middle-aged white men from Europe.

US and some European airlines have accused Gulf carriers of unfair competition based on subsidies and social policies, but Walsh - whose group counts Qatar Airways as a shareholder - said he believed Gulf airlines competed on an equal footing. IATA says just 3 percent of airlines have a female leader.

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

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