Qatar CEO criticizes IATA for lacking ‘clear transparency’

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Published: June 9, 2011

Qatar Airways’ outspoken CEO Akbar Al Baker criticized IATA for appearing to be “run for the few, by the few” and lacking full transparency.

According to the Doha-based airline, there was “an unusual a level of tension during the normally carefully orchestrated morning sessions of the IATA AGM” in Singapore, with active debates on several issues, including the nomination of board members. The airline revealed that Emirates called for greater dialogue to ensure IATA is more transparent while International Airlines Group, the holding company of British Airways and Iberia, sought clarity on the voting process used to select board members.

Qatar said its CEO “led a vocal onslaught by a number of international airlines over IATA’s failure to show clear transparency in its processes” and questioned the auditing process for the association’s financial statement. Al Baker highlighted some of IATA’s expenditures, including $ 18 million on travel, $ 58 million on data processing and IT, and $ 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. He backed a motion for IATA to reconsider the appointment of its auditors.

Al Baker also questioned the “surprise” nomination of Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan to fill the extra seat created to broaden the representation of Middle East carriers on IATA’s board. “We believe such issues should not be surprises,” he said. “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.”

Outgoing IATA DG and CEO Giovanni Bisignani called for airline industry unity in his last State of Industry address ( ATW Daily News, June 8 ).

Photo: Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker. Courtesy, Qatar Airways

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