In celebration of International Women’s Day easyJet took to the skies this morning with an all-female flight.
The special flight left Gatwick Airport this morning (March 8) at 7.35am and headed to Madrid with a female captain, first officer and three female cabin crew.
The budget airline’s A320 aircraft was also picked for the trip, which was named after renowned female aviator Amy Johnson.
Staff in the airport helping passengers board the plane were also female.
Captain Kate McWilliams, 27, is the world’s youngest female commercial captain.
Before departing she said: “International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the achievements of women so we thought this all female flight would be a very fitting way to celebrate the achievements of the many women working in the aviation industry.
“There are more than 15 women who are making this flight possible today in positions from pilots and crew to gate agents and fuelers.
“This year’s IWD theme is #BeBoldForChange to help forge a better working world which is more inclusive and gender equal. This year easyJet has set an ambitious target of increasing the proportion of its female pilots aiming for 20 per cent of new intake pilots by 2020.
“The aviation industry is exciting and challenging and I firmly believe that there should be absolutely nothing to stop women from entering into a career in aviation.”
Around 12 per cent of Gatwick’s airfield team are women and Hayley Richardson, airfield operations controller, was on hand to help guide the aircraft on the tarmac, an easyJet spokesman said.
She said: “Working on Gatwick’s airfield is an exciting and rewarding job. For obvious reasons our team has to maintain the highest professional standards and I really enjoy the responsibility.
“I’d say the number of women I see working in other roles across the airfield is increasing and I would recommend a career on an airfield to any women who are thinking about it.”
In the year ending September 2015, women made up six per cent of easyJet’s new pilot intake and five per cent of its total pilot community, the easyJet spokesman added.
In October 2015 easyJet launched its Amy Johnson Flying Initiative with the aim of doubling the number of female new entrant pilots to 12 per cent over two years.
International Women’s Day global campaign coordinator, Glenda Stone, said: “EasyJet is to be applauded for the way they have truly embraced the very ethos of International Women’s Day and are showing not only to their customers and industry, but to wider audiences, that women excel when there are no barriers to participation or involvement.
“International Women’s Day provides an important opportunity to accelerate gender parity, and here we clearly see the collective talent of women that inspires employees, customers, aspirational girls and many more.”
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