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Qatar Airways CEO Blasts Airline Industry Body IATA

SINGAPORE – Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker sparked off a tense debate about the structure of airline industry body IATA and its finances during a conference of airline bosses in Singapore this week.


In a dramatic early session of IATA’s annual general meeting, the International Air Transport Association came under fire for appearing to be run for the few, by the few” and lacking full transparency.


Al Baker led a vocal onslaught by a number of international airlines over IATA’s failure to show clear transparency in its processes.  


He questioned the auditing process for IATA’s 2010 financial statement, and later questioned the “surprise” nomination of Etihad Chief Executive Officer James Hogan to fill the extra seat created to broaden the representation of carriers from the Middle East on IATA’s board.


Al Baker highlighted some of IATA’s expenditure, including US$18 million on travel, US$58 million on data processing and IT and US $29 million on outsourcing and consultancy. He called on IATA to justify “such large sums spent on travel” and the processes by which consultant and outsourcing contracts were awarded.


Al Baker backed a motion for IATA to reconsider the appointment of its auditors, having been unconvinced about the industry body’s financial accounts and auditing process.


Regarding the nomination of Hogan, Al Baker told the AGM: “We believe such issues should not be surprises. 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.”


Emirates called for greater dialogue to ensure IATA was more transparent while International Airlines Group, the holding company of British Airways, sought clarity on the entire voting process of board members.


The debates created an unusual level of tension during the normally carefully orchestrated morning sessions of IATA AGMs.


Qatar Airways is one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, ranked Five Star for service and excellence. The Doha-based airline currently operates a modern fleet of 98 aircraft to over 100 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.


The airline has orders for 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 37 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is one of the customers of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five on order and scheduled for delivery from 2012, by which time the New Doha International Airport would have opened. For more information, visit www.qatarairways.com



Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 44496956, Fax: +974 44620132
E-mail: qrmedia@qatarairways.com.qa

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