Qatar Airways boss in war of words over Hogan role

Akbar Al Baker says James Hogan’s election to IATA board should not have been ‘a surprise’

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker launched a strongly-worded attack on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Wednesday over the election of James Hogan, CEO of fellow Gulf carrier Etihad, to the agency’s board.

Hogan’s election was aimed to widen representation of carriers from the fast-growing Middle East at IATA, but Al Baker said that consultation should have been undertaken with Gulf airlines prior to the announcement.

“We believe such issues should not be surprises,” Al Baker told attendees at IATA’s annual general meeting in Singapore.

“Firstly, such decisions should be transparent and secondly, if geographical representation is the basis of the composition of the board, the regional airlines involved should be informed in advance of their regional allotments so that they can coordinate who should represent them.”

The Qatar Airways CEO also laid into IATA over accusations of transparency.

He questioned the auditing process for IATA’s 2010 financial statement, highlighting the body’s $18m spent on travel, $58m on data processing, and $29m on outsourcing and consultancy.

Al Baker was backed by Tim Clark, president of Dubai’s Emirates Airline, who claimed that IATA was “an entity run by the very few and that has to end”.

Gulf carriers have been in the spotlight this week at the global aviation body, after IATA CEO Giovanni Bisignani spoke out against efforts by US and European carriers to curb their growth.

The Italian urged airlines to stop lobbying their governments to block the award of landing rights to airlines such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, saying efforts to use governments “as referees has not worked. And it won’t.”

Rival international operators claim Gulf airlines use unfair subsidies to finance aircraft deals and to take market share from existing airlines through uncompetitive route expansion.

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Posted by: Dollah

Believe Hogan was the better choice then the rest for his professionalism and credibility.IATA you sure picked the right man.

Posted by: Salim Shaikh

Yes QR CEO would have been an obvious sole winner at the board election to represent the Gulf Regional Carriers. IATA played a tactical game by electing James Hogan under the pretext to provide a wider representation to the fast growing Middle East region at IATA. But between the lines it means, what it means, which indeed sparked off the comments from a live wire CEO of Qatar Airways...of which he is absolutely right!!!

Posted by: KAA

So what would you say about Tim Clark; is he also sore, I think you are just biased or maybe sore of Albaker? triumph.

Posted by: Seb

Guess Mr Al Baker is just sore that he was not selected to the board.

Posted by: Jon

He also said it is safe to fly planes through volcanic ash clouds...

Posted by: Engr.Mirza

Believe me!!! if he were,it would have beeen a blessing for the international body.He is a miracle man.

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