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Qatar Airways Boss Apologizes For Comment On Women CEOs


Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker has apologized for his comment that a woman could not do his job as it was "very challenging."

Shortly after his appointment as the new chairman of the International Air Transport Association or IATA Board of Governors on Tuesday, Al Baker made the comments.

"Of course, it has to be led by a man, because it is a very challenging position," said Al Baker, when asked by reporters about poor representation of women in the Middle East's aviation industry and why his job as CEO could not be done by a woman.

AL Baker's comments, which came just a day after IATA members took part in a panel addressing gender imbalances in the aviation industry, drew strong criticism on social media.

Following the backlash, Al Baker later explained he was only referring to one individual position and not the staff in general. He also apologized in a statement tweeted out by Qatar Airways on Wednesday.

"I would like to offer my heartfelt apologies for any offence 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," Al Baker tweeted.

The CEO pointed out that women comprise 44 percent of Qatar Airways' workforce "and the dedication, drive and skill they bring to their jobs tells me that no role is too tough for them, at all levels of the organisation."

Al Baker said that Qatar Airways believes in gender equality in the workplace. It was the first airline to employ female pilots and also one of the first to train and employ female engineers, he noted.

Al Baker added that he supports all IATA initiatives to promote the advancement of women in the airline industry.

Regarding the top job, he told Bloomberg, "It will be my pleasure to have a female CEO candidate I could then develop to become CEO after me."

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