Following the comments by the CEO of Qatar Airways suggesting that women are not capable of operating the airline, the airlines is attempting to reduce the severe accusations of sexism that it has bene facing since.
“Of course it has to be led by a man because it is a very challenging position”, the CEO of the airlines Akbar Al Baker said, in reference to Qatar Airways when he was asked the manner to reduce gender inequality in the aviation industry.
Al Baker made these comments while he was talking to reporters following his election as the chairman of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) at the annual meeting of the industry association in Sydney, Australia. His comments became viral after it was recorded and posted on YouTube.
His reaction to the question of gender inequality at airlines in the Middle East, was: “not in Qatar Airways.” The questioner interjected, saying “but certainly it’s being led by a man, so …”
It was then that Al Baker had said that “of course” it “has to be led by a man.” There were shouts and groans from among the assembled crowd on this comment.
Remorse at his comments were expressed by the CEO in a statement issued on Wednesday.
“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 sensationalized by the media,” said Al Baker.
When the media asked Qatar Airways for a comment on his comments made on Tuesday, the airline referred to a subsequent television interview that Al Baker had given.
“I was only referring to one individual,” he had said in that interview. “I was not referring to the staff in general.”
A statement from Al Baker that reiterated the record on gender equality of the airlines was referred to by Qatar Airways:
“While I am known in the media for some lightheartedness at press conferences, it is crucial that I emphasize the facts as I did today and the importance of women representatives in the airline industry,” the statement said.
“Qatar Airways firmly believes in gender equality in the workplace and our airline has been a pioneer in our region in this regard, as the first airline to employ female pilots, as one of the first to train and employ female engineers, and with females represented through to senior vice president positions within the airline.”
“It would be my pleasure if I could help develop a female candidate to be the next CEO of Qatar Airways,” the statement concluded.
The small number of women airline CEOs “do their jobs very successfully”, said the IATA in a statement.
“Many airlines have implemented programs to encourage gender diversity,” it said. “But clearly we, as an industry, have a big task ahead of us.”
(Adapted from Money.CNN.com)