Jun 08, 2018

By Michael Kramer

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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.”

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