The Age of Enlightenment reaches the airline sectorBack to Forum
Dear all and especially FDOS_UK, who wrote the initial thread comment — There are a lot of vociferous comments here and insults flying back and forth. However when somebody like AAB from a very conservative Gulf state makes a comment like this, one has to fully understand the background to his comment.
I know a lot of you out there regularly visit and even work/reside in the Gulf, but do many of you mix with Gulf nationals? And I do not mean just in the Office/Board Room etc etc, do you meet socially at their homes, regularly meet their families etc etc etc. If any of you do, then one will have a inkling as to what I am going to say in defence of AAB. It is not for reasons of ability, but for social, cultural and behavioral reasons, that it must be a man who leads an airline in the Gulf. I will not make further comment here for fear of ‘rocking the boat’, but those of you who fully understand what I am insinuating/hinting/saying here, will accept what AAB said, and how he came by it. It is not an exaggerated or bombastic comment, but a realistic one given his background. Certainly he is well educated and a smart operator, so he should have switched on his ‘public image’ and re-set his brain before making that statement. However, its Ramadan at the moment, and when ‘fasting’, their brain functions slow down, so that’s probably why he made this public relations ‘faux pas’.
I remind all our forum contributors to try not mix European, or Anglo Saxon standards, with other races/countries/social rules. One cannot compare them, they are incompatible.13 Jun 2018
That argument is all well and good (and I do have 17 years of experience in the region, so am familiar with the fundamental dynamics of society and culture).
But, where I respectfully disagree with you is trying to ring fence this as a regional matter, since QR is a large investor in IAG and thus playing in the global arena, too and Al Baker is thus a key stakeholder in a European public ompany.
What he said is simply unacceptable in Europe – if he was the head of a regional airline with no ambitions outside the gulf, then I would not even have commented, but as he is the public face of a large investment holding in Europe, he needs challenging on it and to learn (as I am sure he has) that he cannot display prejudices such as this if he wishes to be taken seriously.
If a European public figure said that, it would likely end in resignation, due to the backlash.
There is a wind of change blowing through the region at the moment and it remains to be seen whether the current rise in the price of energy will accelerate or restrain this.13 Jun 2018