British budget airline easyJet has launched a new initiative to increase its proportion of female new entrant pilots.
It’s part of the airline’s new strategy to encourage the development of female pilots at all ranks and positions.
Just over five per cent of easyJet’s 2500 pilots are female—in line with the industry as a whole. Currently women make up six per cent of easyJet’s new pilot intake. The airline plans to double the proportion of female new entrants to 12 per cent over two years.
‘This is a long term strategy, which we hope will eventually lead to easyJet recruiting, retaining and developing many more female pilots,’ says Brian Tyrrell, easyJet’s head of flight operations.
‘Our initial focus will be to increase the pipeline of female pilots, including by talking to young women who may not have considered it as a career.
‘We have made sustained progress in our senior management and M&A (management and administration) communities in recent years but we recognise that the proportion of our pilots who are female is too low, as it is across the industry as a whole.’
As part of the program, easyJet will include 10 places each year on the airline’s pilot training program and they will underwrite the £100,000 ($A211,000) training loan.
EasyJet has also committed to provide additional support to develop and retain female pilots, so that more of them can go on to achieve captaincy and pilot management roles.
And according to Boeing’s 2015 market outlook, the demand for new pilots across the globe will reach more than 550,000 in the next 20 years.
In the face of this demand it makes sense then to recruit from, and retain, the other half of the population to fly and maintain aircraft.