A yr after Qatar boss’ gaffe, airways nonetheless pay ‘lip service’ to variety: executives By –


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© -. FILE PHOTO: IATA emblem is seen on the International Tourism Trade Fair ITB in Berlin

By Jamie Freed

SEOUL (-) – A yr after Qatar Airways boss’ comment {that a} girl couldn’t do his job drew scathing criticism, airline executives known as out the trade for paying solely “lip service” to variety and never pushing to get extra ladies out of cabins and into boardrooms.

While Akbar al-Baker had apologized for his remarks made finally yr’s International Air Transport Association (IATA) assembly in Sydney, saying they have been meant as a joke and brought out of context, the controversy highlighted the dearth of girls in senior aviation roles.

His airline is now sponsoring three variety and inclusion awards with $25,000 prizes, every to be introduced on Monday at this yr’s IATA assembly in Seoul.

But Air New Zealand Ltd CEO Christopher Luxon stated extra concrete motion was wanted, equivalent to refusing to serve on all-male panel talks and creating ladies’s help networks.

“Compared to different sectors and different enterprise sectors that I’m a part of around the globe and in New Zealand, aviation and IATA’s document is abysmal when it comes to gender variety and inclusion,” he instructed – on the sidelines of the assembly.

“We are simply paying lip service to it in the intervening time and window dressing it and we’re not even doing an excellent job of that if we’re actually sincere with ourselves.”

The high of the airline trade stays male dominated, with solely two ladies CEOs on the 27-member IATA Board of Governors at the moment chaired by al-Baker.

One of the 2, FlyBe CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener, has stated she is going to resign from her FlyBe position on July 15 after her airline is taken over by Connect Airways.

“It is obvious that this trade has document when it comes to using ladies, broadly talking on common. But on the senior place degree, it isn’t the case,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac stated.

IATA is working with trade companions to share greatest practices and assist kind a method on gender variety towards which to measure progress, he added.

Kirstin Colvile, the CEO of the SkyTeam airways alliance, stated IATA might do extra on the annual assembly, equivalent to internet hosting a networking breakfast to advertise ladies in aviation.

“Female networks and help teams are extremely necessary to provide the confidence,” she stated.

“In order to maneuver the needle – and also you see that it hasn’t moved a lot – I believe we’re going to should take some steps, whether or not that’s simply targets or concerted efforts, we simply should drive extra ladies into management place.”


The trade does job at attracting ladies into some roles, equivalent to flight attendants and journey brokers, however far much less so in pilot and engineering positions.

In India, which has the best ratio of feminine pilots on the planet at round 12% regardless of a patriarchal society, SpiceJet has set a goal to extend its proportion to 33% within the subsequent few years, Chairman Ajay Singh stated in Seoul.

“It shouldn’t be very good to have a 33% goal to be sincere. Ideally it ought to be anyone who’s succesful,” he stated.

“But I believe for durations of time constructive discrimination helps. I believe in nations like ours these ladies change into terrific position fashions for younger ladies.”

SpiceJet’s feminine pilot ratio is now consistent with India’s common, or greater than double the worldwide common of beneath 5%, in accordance with the International Society of Women Airline Pilots.

Air New Zealand too has set targets and is trying to increase the variety of ladies in high normal supervisor jobs to 40% by 2020, from 16% in 2013, Luxon stated.

“We received there final yr,” he stated. “Now we’re at 43% and we’re on our option to 50% subsequent yr, perhaps on the finish of this yr.”

He stated Air New Zealand had achieved that by a ruthless concentrate on figuring out ladies with management potential, guaranteeing salaries have been equal for a similar roles, creating inside teams to provide ladies extra of a voice and guaranteeing recruiters thought of feminine candidates for high govt roles.

“I really feel very snug we’ll get to a spot the place the CEOs who come after me, will probably be a 50/50 likelihood they are going to be ladies as nicely,” Luxon stated.

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