EasyJet wants to ensure 20 per cent of new cadet pilots are female after doubling its numbers in a year

 
Rebecca Smith
Carolyn McCall said it was difficult to think of another high profile profession where women were as under-represented
Carolyn McCall said it was difficult to think of another high profile profession where women were as under-represented (Source: Getty)

Just three per cent of commercial airline pilots worldwide are female and only 450 have attained the rank of captain.

So easyJet has pledged to up its intake of female entrant pilots even further, after reaching a two-year target after just 12 months.

It has set "a more stretching target" of ensuring that 20 per cent of new entrant cadet pilots are female by 2020, which it said would mean easyJet recruiting around 50 female pilots year.

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In October 2015, easyJet launched its Amy Johnson Flying Initiative - named after the pioneering aviator. It set the aim of doubling the number of female new entrant pilots to 12 per cent over two years. With over 600 applicants, the airline hit the target in its first year, recruiting 33 new female pilots who have either started to fly with easyJet or are assigned to courses due to start in the coming weeks.

For the year ending September 2015, women made up six per cent of its new pilot intake and five per cent of its total pilot community.

At present, the airline has 164 female pilots in total, and of those 62 are captains, making up about 14 per cent of the world's total.

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Carolyn McCall, easyJet's chief executive, said that while progress has been made in many sectors with women obtaining senior positions in the likes of law and education, "the proportion has not changed for pilots and it is hard to think of another high profile profession where women are so under-represented".

We would like to understand why this is and to do what we can to redress the balance. We have been encouraged by the success of our Amy Johnson initiative since we launched it in October 2015 and the results so far suggest that the demand from women to become pilots is there.

She said the new 20 per cent target marked a "long-term strategy" and hoped it will lead to the airline both recruiting and retaining many more female pilots over the years.

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