Daily Management Review

Airlines Only Giving ‘Lip Service’ To Diversity, Say Airline Executives


06/02/2019




Airlines Only Giving ‘Lip Service’ To Diversity, Say Airline Executives
The airline industry has only done “lip service” to addressing issues of diversity and are there is hardly any major steps taken to induct more women into the company boards, said  airline executives about a year after a Qatar Airways chief notoriously commented that a women would not be able to do his job – a comment that was criticized globally.
 
That comment by Qatar Airways chief Akbar al-Baker was made at last year’s International Air Transport Association (IATA) meeting in Sydney and he had later apologized for the comment later on and said that the comment was taken out of context and it was intended to be a joke. However that comment had reflected the absence of women in the senior management of aviation companies. The Qatar Airways is now the sponsor of three diversity and inclusion awards globally.  
 
There is need for more concrete action in the airline industry in terms of promoting diversity in management such as not participating in panel discussions comprising of men only and creation of support networks for women, said Air New Zealand Ltd CEO Christopher Luxon.
 
“Compared to other sectors and other business sectors that I’m part of around the world and in New Zealand, aviation and IATA’s record is abysmal in terms of gender diversity and inclusion,” he said on the sidelines of the meeting. “We are just paying lip service to it at the moment and window dressing it and we are not even doing a very good job of that if we are really honest with ourselves.”
 
Males dominate the top position in the airline industry – for example, on the 27-member IATA Board of Governors currently chaired by al-Baker, there are only two women CEOs.
 
One of the two members of the board, the CEO of FlyBe, Christine Ourmières-Widener, would be resigning from her position on July 15 after the acquisition of the airlines by Connect Airways
 
“It is clear that this industry has a good record in terms of employing women, broadly speaking on average. But at the senior position level, it is not the case,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac said. He added that IATA is coordinating with partners in the airline industry in order to implement best practices and help in development of a strategy on gender diversity which can be used to measure progress on the issue.
 
More could be done at the IATA annual meeting, such as by hosting a networking breakfast to promote women in aviation, said Kirstin Colvile, the CEO of the SkyTeam airlines alliance. “Female networks and support groups are incredibly important to give you the confidence,” she said. “In order to move the needle - and you see that it hasn’t moved much - I think we are going to have to take some steps, whether that is just targets or concerted efforts, we just have to drive more women into leadership position.”
 
(Source:www.reuters.com)






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