Just a few weeks ago, it was announced that Qatar Airways would acquire ten percent of American Airlines’ shares. However, this requires the approval of the US airline.
This could have been lost by Qatar Airways boss Akbar Al Baker after his offensive statement on US flight attendants. At an Irish event in Dublin last week, he boasted that his airline’s flight attendants had an average age of 26, while US airlines would always be served by grandmothers.
American Airlines called the remark “sexist and age-discriminatory” and also the president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), Sara Nelson, was outraged by Al Baker’s statement.
Al Baker: “The competition must remain respectful”
Now the apology of Al Baker followed. According to US magazine “People” he wrote in a letter to the AFA: “The competition among airlines is strong. This is healthy, especially for our passengers, but our competition must remain respectful. For the cabin crew in all airlines, professionalism, skill and dedication are the qualities that count. It was wrong of me to suggest that other factors, such as age, are relevant. ”
Next he wrote:
“I would like to apologize unreservedly to the people who have been offended by my recent comments, which Qatar Airways Cabin crew compared with cabin members of US companies. The cabin crew is the public face of all airlines and I have great respect for their hard work and professionalism. They play a huge role in the safety and comfort of the passengers, regardless of their age, gender or family status. ”
AFA President hopes that Qatar Airways will follow the rules in the future
According to Forbes, the AFA President accepted his apology in the reply, but she also wrote: “What I cannot accept is the ongoing refusal to comply with the rules of fair competition.”
Nelson accuses Qatar-Airways of having received billions of support from its government in Qatar and being able to buy unfairly on the US market.
“Your repugnant remarks and the subsidies your airline receives may point to the belief that you could act outside the rules and norms,” Nelson wrote. “I hope your apology marks the beginning of a reassessment of you and your airline to follow the same rules as the rest of the aviation industry has been doing for years.”