Jun 08, 2018
By Michael Kramer
Canada’s transport minister is calling out the new chairman of a global airline association – for saying that his job as head of Qatar Airways – would be too difficult for a woman to perform.
Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker made the controversial comments earlier this week – after being selected as chairman of the board of governors – of the International Air Transport Association – which has its head office in Montreal.
He subsequently backtracked and apologized for saying his company “has to be led by a man, because it is a very challenging position” – which was his original answer to a question about the lack of gender diversity in the airline industry.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau is taking Al Baker to task in a letter to the CEO of the airline association.
Garneau says the comments work against efforts to increase the number of women – not only as pilots, but also in senior management positions – in an industry where they have been traditionally under-represented.
“Pursuing gender equality should be a given,” Garneau writes – calling Al Baker’s comments “unproductive and unacceptable.”