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Qatar Airways CEO Questions Lack Of Transparency @ IATA

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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 IATAs annual general meeting, the 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 IATAs failure to show clear transparency in its processes.

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

Al Baker highlighted some of IATAs 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 bodys 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.

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