Easyjet says it has reached a “key milestone” in its goal to have 20 per cent of new pilots to be women by 2020, with 15 per cent of entrants over the past year being female.
The International Society of Women Airline Pilots claims only 5 per cent of pilots worldwide are female. Furthermore, just over 450 of them have reached the rank of captain.
Easyjet launched an initiative to attract more female pilots in 2015, when only 6 per cent of its new pilots were women. The airline has hired more than 50 women this year and now has over 200 female pilots.
Johan Lundgren, CEO of Easyjet, commented: “It’s hugely encouraging to now see that of the new entrant pilots we have attracted over the past year that 15 per cent are now female and that the ambitious goal of 20 per cent is in our sights and we don’t plan to stop there.
“As well as encouraging applications from women now, we also recognise we need to start young so that we can be simultaneously changing perceptions of the career, and so improving the gender balance of the profession for years to come. That is why our pilots have completed more than 100 school visits last year and we signed up to sponsor the Girlguiding Aviation badge for Brownies to get girls interested in flight at an early age. I firmly believe that no other airline is doing more on this issue.”
Julie Westhorp, chairman of the British Women Pilots’ Association (BWPA), added: “The BWPA are delighted that Easyjet are maintaining the momentum in encouraging women to consider a career in aviation. Also to see that their Amy Johnson Initiative is beginning to show results. Their pilots continue to support our outreach work to encourage young people, male and female, to raise their aspirations and to change the perceptions of teachers and parents to realise that becoming a pilot is an achievable and rewarding career, whatever gender.
“With a global shortage of pilots, there is no better time for airlines to realise that by encouraging women to apply they are expanding their recruitment pool to recruit the best person for the role, as evidence and history clearly shows that being a pilot is not a male prerogative.”
Easyjet says it plans to recruit a total of 460 new pilots in the 2019 financial year and has launched the Generation Easyjet Pilot Training Programme to allow aspiring pilots to learn with the airline.