Qantas commits to more female pilots on International Women's Day

Qantas commits to more female pilots on International Women's Day, aiming for 40 percent of intakes by 2028.
Photo credit: Getty stock

Qantas is using International Women's Day to celebrate the improvements it's made in gender representation among its pilots, and to announce goals of doing even better.

The Australian airline says around 6 percent of the pilots it employs are female, which is double the global average of 3 percent.

By 2028, Qantas hopes 40 percent of its pilot intakes are female - a move that comes after Virgin Australia exceeded its goal of having at least 50 percent of its pilot cadet intakes female in 2018.

"On International Women's Day, we celebrate all the highly skilled and experienced women working across the Qantas Group, reflect on the progress we've made, and renew our focus for the years ahead to inspire and support more women to take up a career in aviation," says Qantas spokesperson Lesley Grant.

"We know that we can only recruit the best talent if we don't limit ourselves to hiring from half the population. That's why we're working to increase the number of women right across our business - from our operations centre, to our engineering hangars and in the flight deck.

"For Qantas, this is an area in which we want to drive change for the future."

Vicky Haining is an Auckland-based first officer who flies for Jetconnect, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Qantas Group.

She started flight training in 2006 and says she's seen major improvements since then.

"When I entered the industry it was clear there weren't many women around. In my commercial ground course of around 60 students, four of us were women," she tells Newshub.

"In the mid-2000s you would still hear of some organisations in general aviation that specifically wouldn't accept applications from female pilots on the grounds that 'we had a female pilot once and it didn't work out'.

Qantas First Officer Vicky Haining talks about the improving gender equality in the pilot industry.
First Officer Vicky Haining. Photo credit: supplied

"Things have certainly changed since then, and in the last few years there has been much more information sharing through international women's pilot groups via social media, and sharing some of these experiences provides a really fantastic sense of community."

Ms Haining says removing biases about 'male jobs' and 'female jobs' will help encourage more women to become pilots.

International Women's Day has also been chosen to launch a social media campaign by industry body Aviation/Aerospace Australia that hopes to inspire females to pursue careers in aviation and aerospace.

The social media posts, which use the hashtag #givegirlswings, show women in a variety of professional aviation roles.