“We need to do better”: WestJet pushes for more women in aviation

CALGARY — WestJet is calling for more women in aviation and has released a new video to shed light on the issue.

Launched to coincide with National Women in Aviation Week and International Women’s Day, ‘WestJet Women in Aviation: Committed to Change’ video emphasizes the need to increase the numbers of women in the aviation industry, as well as highlights WestJet’s role in female advancement. At 7%, WestJet currently has the third-highest percentage of female pilots in North America as a global airline, compared to the industry average of 5%.

“But we need to do better,” said the airline in the new video. “Because even at number three, only 7% of our pilots are women.”

With commercial aviation growing rapidly and opportunities opening across a range of careers, the airline acknowledges it is critical to increase the number of women in the flight deck, below the wing in technical positions and at the boardroom table.

“We need more visibility of women succeeding in various roles within the industry,” said Ashlee Tanner, WestJet, Manager, Fleet Engineering. “The aviation industry is diverse in opportunities and we need to do a better job of reflecting that.”

In 2020, WestJet will focus on actively reducing the gender gap on its global leadership team and is launching a new Women in Leadership Program designed to facilitate the growth and development of managers. WestJet has also partnered with Elevate Aviation to support Elevate’s mission to create a shift in the aviation industry and promote gender balance by connecting women with a network of support.

Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO, said he is proud to be among those leading the field for the inclusion of women in the flight deck. “But, WestJet can do better. Leaders, including myself, must pledge to listen to the voices of women who work in all areas of aviation, recognize their potential, and support their growth and development. Strong male and female advocates are necessary, and I am dedicated to helping WestJet’s women soar.”

Throughout Women in Aviation Week from March 2-8, 2020 and International Women’s Day on March 8, 2020, WestJet will feature and recognize women in leadership, aviation and technical operations positions within its organization. They are as follows:

Monday, March 2WestJet Women in Aviation: Committed to Change video
Tuesday, March 3 – Ashlee Tanner, WestJet, Manager, Fleet Engineering
Wednesday, March 4 – Patricia Gauthier, WestJet Regional Manager, International Airports
Thursday, March 5 – Colleen Tynan, WestJet, Director of Contact Centre
Friday, March 6 – Rose Streete, WestJet, Cabin Crew Member
Saturday, March 7 – Virginia Svilans, WestJet, 737 First Officer
Sunday, March 8 – All female WestJet flight 1516 (YYC-PHX), WestJet Encore flight 3163 (YYC-YLW), Ed Sims, WestJet, President and CEO, International Women’s Day Feature

These feature pieces will be available across WestJet’s channels and online at Westjet.com/womeninaviation.

Get travel news right to your inbox!