WestJet CEO Ed Sims said recent comments made by Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker who suggested women could not do his job are “indefensible.”

“I made it plain to all WestJetters last Friday in an internal email I’m not here to defend the indefensible,” Sims told BNN Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman in an interview Wednesday. “His comments are indefensible.”

Al Baker made the controversial comments in Sydney earlier this month after he was appointed chairman of the International Air Transport Association’s board of governors.

“Of course it has to be led by a man, because it is a very challenging position,” he said, when asked what could be done about representation of women in Middle East aviation.

He later apologized and said there is no gender inequality at Qatar Airways. The Doha-based airline later said its staff is more than 44 per cent female.

“I do not think there is any rational justification for those comments,” Sims said.

Sims noted WestJet has about a 50 per cent gender mix across the company.

“I’m proud of that diversity,” Sims added. “I would love to see more women in senior positions.”