Creating more opportunities for women in aviation is a priority for Britain’s Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg.

women in aviation

By Patrick Appleton

The UK government has welcomed the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) support following the organization’s endorsement of The Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter.

IATA has become an Overseas Supporting Organization of the UK government’s charter as it continues to plot a path toward increasing the number of women in leadership roles in aviation.

“I’m delighted that IATA has joined over 100 organizations that support the UK Women in Aerospace and Aviation Charter to encourage gender diversity and inclusion within the industry,” said UK Aviation Minister, Baroness Sugg.

“Almost a quarter of a million people work in the UK’s aviation sector, yet women account for fewer than one in ten employees. It’s clear, we have to create more opportunities for women to succeed at the highest levels.

“A balanced workforce is good for business and it’s absolutely vital we make the best use of talent in this country, encouraging and inspiring girls into aviation-related careers.”

It is absolutely vital we make the best use of talent in the UK, encouraging and inspiring girls into aviation-related careers

In a blog post on the association’s website, IATA said that for too long, the air transport sector has been missing out on skilled female employees in a range of positions.

Signing the charter is the latest move in the organization’s bid to increase opportunities for women, having already launched a global study—due to be published this year—looking at the gender gap and how to address it.

IATA also announced the formation of the Diversity & Inclusion Awards recently, aimed at celebrating women who have made a difference in the industry and continue to do so.

Christine Ourmieres-Widener, IATA Board member and Flybe CEO signed the declaration alongside IATA Regional Vice President for Europe, Rafael Schvartzman and both explained the importance of promoting diversity in aviation.

“As one of the only two female board members of IATA, I feel personally responsible to promote diversity and inclusion throughout aviation,” said Ourmieres-Widener. 

“It is important to address the already growing shortage of pilots and engineers in order to meet the global demand.  

“There is an urgent necessity to target the 51 per cent of the population not currently represented in these roles and it is equally the responsibility of both men and women to highlight and help address this critical talent shortage.”

Echoing the thoughts of the Flybe CEO, Schvartzman said: “IATA is delighted to support this UK initiative. Enabling greater gender diversity is a challenge at both operational and managerial level, and it’s a cause IATA is promoting amongst its own staff and members internationally.”


Christine Ourmieres-Widener and Rafael Schvartzman

Christine Ourmieres-Widener, CEO of Flybe, congratulates Rafael Schvartzman, RVP Europe, IATA, on the signing of the Women in Aviation Charter