Porter Airlines has launched “Women Soar at Porter” to promote opportunities for women in aviation, just in time for tomorrow’s International Women’s Day (March 8).
Women Soar at Porter aims to bridge the gender gap within all areas of the organization, including Pilots, Leadership and Ground Operations, as well as other various under-represented groups.
Initiatives include: creating a resource group for internal development; relationship building with high schools, colleges and flight schools; and partnering with organizations that promote women in aviation and aerospace.
Initial emphasis is on increasing the number of female pilots at Porter. Twelve per cent of the airline’s pilots are women today; more than double the industry’s average of approximately 5%.
“Women Soar at Porter represents the drive that our team members have to influence change and break down barriers,” said Porter president Robert Deluce. “Women are generally underrepresented in the aviation industry. There needs to be a fundamental shift in thinking. Being a pilot – or maintenance engineer, or executive – is a job for anyone willing to work hard and with a passion for what they do.”
Aviation began as a male-dominated industry and this is still common for many roles. As such, women do not always see the possibilities available to them in the industry at an early age.
There is also the misconception that a career as an airline pilot means being away from home for an extended period of time on a regular basis. This isn’t always the case. At Porter, pilots with some seniority can choose flying schedules that allow them to be at home before or after school with their family, or they can choose schedules that allow them to fulfill their dream of travelling. Flexibility is a key advantage of the Porter schedule.
A related initiative is the introduction of a Pilot Recruitment Ambassador. This role focuses on developing an external mentorship program for high potential candidates – both women and men.
A number of Porter’s female pilots, management, ground staff and others will represent the airline at two events that promote awareness for women in aviation and engage a younger generation.