CTC Aviation calls attention to global need for women in aviation
In July this year US aircraft company Boeing released a statement-1 announcing that about 533,000 new commercial pilots would be needed worldwide in the next two decades to satisfy a growing global fleet.
According to CTC Aviation Chief Commercial Officer, Anthony Petteford, the challenge of meeting this global demand for airline professionals cannot be conquered by one gender alone.
“As it stands, approximately 50% of the world’s population is female, yet only about 4% of airline pilots globally are female, and in many countries it is a staggering zero percent,” Mr Petteford said.
“Women are equally as capable of becoming commercial pilots as men, and even bring ‘soft skill’ strengths to the industry that men often don’t. The predicted world pilot shortage would be mitigated overnight if more women were to enter the profession,” he said.
CTC Aviation Chief Operating Officer – Ab initio Training (NZ), Peter Stockwell, said the unprecedented demand for airline professionals, and subsequent need for more women in the industry, is particularly pertinent to the Asia Pacific region.
“Boeing has said that pilot demand in the Asia Pacific region now comprises 41 percent of the world's need. The Asia Pacific region alone needs to recruit 216,000 pilots and 224,000 technicians in the next 20 years,” Mr Stockwell said.
“To meet this growing need for pilots, the aviation industry needs to see a more even balance in gender representation. Unfortunately, the regional statistics regarding the ratio of men to women in the industry reflect the global situation.
“For instance, since CTC Aviation began in New Zealand in 2004, we have had a total of 172 trainees from the Asia-Pacific region go through our aviation training programmes. From those 172, only six women have finished training, five are awaiting placement and two more are currently in training,” he said.
Despite the imbalance in numbers, Mr Stockwell pointed out that the success of women in the aviation industry both historically and in recent times has been significant.
“Historically women have achieved marvellous aviation success. Our very own New Zealander, Jean Batten, is celebrated around the world for her heroic solo flights during the 1930s and is widely regarded as one of this country’s greatest aviators,” he said.
“Not only that, of the women who have studied with CTC Aviation in New Zealand, one is now employed by Jetstar Australia, one by a Qantas regional carrier, one by Vanilla Air in Japan, one by Jetstar Pacific in Vietnam, one is working for CTC Aviation as an instructor, and another with the Territory Air Service in Darwin, Australia.”
“Women have a lot to bring to this industry. Their non-technical and interpersonal skills, multi-tasking capabilities, and empathy with customers arguably make them better suited to the profession than men.”
“The imbalance of males as pilots in the industry needs addressing and we have to act now. It’s disappointing to be missing out on such an obvious opportunity to improve the supply side of the significant pilot demand situation,” he said.
Local CTC Aviation flight instructor, Emma-Jane Lacy, 24, who trained as a pilot with CTC Aviation and now works for the company as a flight instructor, also appeals for more women to join her in the profession.
“Gender doesn’t determine someone’s ability to work as a pilot. If you’re willing to put the hard work in, you’ll get results regardless of whether you are male or female.
“In fact, the females I have taught during my time as an instructor seem to have superior situational awareness. They can build an excellent mental picture of their surroundings, which is key to flight safety.
“I’d love to see more women bring their skills to the profession. There has never been a better opportunity for women to enter the aviation industry. I hope more women rise to meet the unprecedented worldwide demand for pilots,” she said.