Qatar Airways boss apologizes for remarks on women CEOs

Akbar Al Baker later defended the carrier saying it was the first Middle Eastern airline to have a female pilot and that other women were in senior roles

Akbar Al Baker later defended the carrier saying it was the first Middle Eastern airline to have a female pilot and that other women were in senior roles

The CEO of Qatar Airways, where women make up almost half the company's workforce, apologized for saying that a woman couldn't do his job because it was "very challenging".

"You answer her, I will keep quiet", he said referring to Mr Joyce.

The airline executive later clarified his remarks during an interview with Bloomberg, saying he was "only referring to one individual, I was not referring to the staff in general".

Qatar Airways CEO is backtracking on comments he made on Tuesday, insinuating that women could not run the airline.

He said that wasn't the case at Qatar Airways but added: 'Of course it has to be led by a man, because it is a very challenging position'.

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

The CEO of Qatar Airways, apologized for saying that a woman couldn't do his job because it was "very challenging".

Al Baker is one of the airline industry's most outspoken and controversial figures, known for blistering and often humorous criticism of rival airlines and planemakers but who has also drawn criticism for being insensitive or disrespectful.

Qatar Airways has long had an abysmal reputation for its treatment of its predominantly female cabin crew, at one time firing them for being pregnant.

Only about 3 per cent of commercial pilots and fewer than 5 percent of airline chief executives are women, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations body that has been campaigning to improve gender diversity in the airline industry.

The comments were met with astonished gasps and groans of disapproval from other attendees of the conference.

'So we actually encourage women.

He added there was no gender inequality at the Gulf carrier, which has a close business partnership with British Airways. Qantas Airways Ltd.'s senior management is 40 per cent female, including the heads of the worldwide and frequent-flier loyalty businesses, CEO Alan Joyce said.

"It will be my pleasure to have a female CEO candidate I could then develop to become CEO after me", he continued. "He lasted 10 minutes - 10 minutes", Mr Joyce said.

"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.

"Aer Lingus recruited its first female pilot in 1977..."

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