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Qatar Airways boss sorry for anti-women jibe

Qatar Airways says 44 per cent of its workforce are female. Al Baker said he supports efforts to bring a woman in to lead Air Italy, in which the Middle Eastern carrier owns a stake.

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Qatar Airways, anti-women jibe

Sydney, June 7 (IANS) Qatar Airways’s board Chairman has apologized for his remark that a woman could not run his airline, saying his comment was taken out of context, media reports said.

Akbar Al Baker made the initial remark at an annual meeting in Sydney of the International Air Transport Association, an industry group made up of major airlines including big US carriers, Efe reported.

“Of course it has to be led by a man, because it is a very challenging position,” Al Baker said, in an audio recording of the Tuesday press conference that was posted to Twitter.

He apologized but said the media took the comment out of context.

Al Baker is the group’s new board Chairman and the meeting in Sydney attracted some 1,000 attendees.

On Wednesday, at a separate conference in Sydney run by market-intelligence firm Centre for Aviation, Al Baker said he didn’t mean he “would discourage any woman to come and take my position.”

He said, “It was just a joke, everybody laughed and I thought that was the end of the story.”

Qatar Airways says 44 per cent of its workforce are female. Al Baker said he supports efforts to bring a woman in to lead Air Italy, in which the Middle Eastern carrier owns a stake.

But many parts of the aviation industry are still dominated by men. The International Society of Women Airline Pilots says not even 5 per cent of airline aviators are women.

A 2015 Centre for Aviation study found 94 per cent of airlines are led by men. The new 31-member governing board of IATA has just two female members.

Some airline executives at the Wednesday event agreed with Al Baker that his comments were blown out of proportion, but said they recognized the need for more women to get involved in the industry.

Martin Gauss, Chief Executive of Latvian airline airBaltic, said the industry must make it clear to young women that having a career as a pilot is a possibility.

Still, no women spoke on a half-day of panels at the Centre for Aviation event on Wednesday, a report in Dow Jones said.

India

DMRC ridership declined during riots, protests: Govt

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Delhi Metro Violet Line

New Delhi, Sep 18 : The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC) has said that there was some decline in cumulative ridership due to protests and riots in Delhi, the Centre has informed Parliament.

Responding to Unstarred Questions, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs told the Lok Sabha in a written reply on Thursday that the DMRC faced loss of an estimated revenue of Rs 1,609 crore due to closure of Metro services in view of Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ministry said that preparatory work like detailed designing, preparation of tender schedule, and finalisation of tenders were carried out by the DMRC during the countrywide lockdown.

Asked “whether the government has devised any strategy to mitigate the effect of losses incurred by the DMRC”, the Ministry said various innovative means like provisioning of feeder system, property development at stations and on other land, leasing of spaces, Transit Oriented Development and Value Capture Finance are enumerated in Metro Rail Policy, 2017 to enhance revenue of DMRC”.

Ensuring financial sustainability during operations of the Metro rail system is the responsibility of the state government,” it further said.

Responding to the question as to how the DMRC is managing or restructuring loan payments, the Ministry said that payments towards loans have been made by it as per the schedule.

The DMRC resumed its public services from September 7 following the Ministry of Home Affairs’ new guidelines, after more than five months.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Centre suspended the Metro rail services in the last week of March.

The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has issued Standard Operating Procedures for the functioning of Metro trains allowed under the ‘Unlock 4’ guidelines.

Communal violence had erupted on the issue of Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Clashes broke out in northeast Delhi on February 24 between protesters as well as supporters of CAA, which spiralled out of control to leave at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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India

PM dedicates Kosi rail mega bridge to nation, inaugurates several rail projects in Bihar

“These projects will improve Bihar’s railway network and also strengthen connectivity in areas of West Bengal and West India,” PM Modi said.

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Kosi Rail Bridge

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the historical Kosi Rail Mega Bridge to the nation and inaugurated new rail lines and electrification projects in Bihar via video-conferencing. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was present at the event.

“These projects will improve Bihar’s railway network and also strengthen connectivity in areas of West Bengal and West India,” PM Modi said.

The PM took a dig at the Congress government for not expediting the Kosi Rail line programme for which foundation stone was laid by Atal Bihari Vajpayee when his government was in power before 2004. “If the government continued to work at the rate it was working on after 2004, the project could never have been completed on time,” he said.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said that the Kosi Rail Mega Bridgewill not only connect two places but also help the state’s economy grow. “This will aid in the overall development of the state,” he said.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar thanked PM Modi and Railway Minister for their work aimed at Bihar’s development. He expressed his gratitude for the projects being inaugurated on Friday.

Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said that these rail lines will connect Jain and Buddhist pilgrimage sites and encourage tourism in Bihar.

“The bridge has strategic importance along the India-Nepal border. The historical project to build the bridge, which is 1.9 kilometres long and has been constructed at a cost of Rs 516 crore, was sanctioned by the Centre in 2003-04,” a government release said.

“The project was completed during the Covid-19 pandemic where the migrant labour also participated in its completion,” it added.

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India

Post-Diwali, India to return to pre-Covid-19 aviation figures: Hardeep Puri

The upper house was discussing the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill as Puri took it up, which was cleared by the Lok Sabha in the last session.

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Hardeep Puri

In a significant statement Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday told the Rajya Sabha that by the time its Diwali and towards the end of the year, India would have pre-Covid aviation figures of 3,00,000 passengers a day.

The upper house was discussing the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill as Puri took it up, which was cleared by the Lok Sabha in the last session.

While Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi highlighted the importance of Air India, Congress’ K.C. Venugopal raised the issue of Adani group winning bids of airports.

“When you compliment Vande Bharat Mission, remember it was Air India that came to the rescue. There would be no private sector if Air India was not there. It needs a revamp, don’t sell it,” urged Trivedi in the house.

Venugopal said: “Adani Group has won bids to operate and develop six airports. There is a clear violation of norms in giving airports to a single private entity. The government ignored advice of some of its own ministries and departments. Changes in norms enabled Adani group to win all six bids.”

The DGCA, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) gets a statutory backing from The Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

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