United Airlines has flown a Boeing 787 to an airshow in the USA with an all-female crew. The aircraft was captained and flown by a female flight deck and had all-female cabin crew on board. Even the passengers were nearly all-female, with nearly 100 female passengers representing women in various fields in the United workforce.
What are the details?
The EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, is one of the world’s biggest airshows. With an estimated half a million in attendance, United took the opportunity to not only show off its beautiful Boeing 787-8 aircraft but also highlight the important role women play in the company’s operation.
Not to be caught in a PR trap, United chose to fly the aircraft there and back with an all-female crew. This means that the captain was female, the first officer was female, and all the cabin crew was female. According to United, this was to ‘symbolize the airline’s commitment to supporting women in aviation.’
The flight also transported nearly 100 United female staff members who represented a different variety of different roles within the company. These included,
- Airport Operations,
- Inflight Services,
- Flight Operations,
- Technical Operations,
- Network Operations
- And many more.
What did United Say about the event?
United highlighted this move on its media portal and was quick to trump how much of a game-changer having female staff throughout the company has been.
“Women are in critical leadership roles across United and what better way to demonstrate our commitment to women in aviation than arriving with more than 100-strong at the largest airshow in the world,” said Linda Jojo, executive vice president of technology and chief digital officer. “We are proud of our strong legacy of supporting women in this field, but we are also excited to be a part of shaping the future of aviation so that it includes even more women.”
But despite all of this effort, women are still greatly underrepresented in the aviation workforce. As of July 2014, approximately 5.12% of certified airline or commercial pilots in the United States are women and less than 5% hold executive roles in the aviation industry.
What happened once they arrived?
When the aircraft arrived at Oshkosh, the United staff members met with a local high school group. In attendance were approximately 70 female students who had shown interest in aviation, who were given an inspirational pep talk and a tour of the aircraft.
The airline also took to the stage to announce additional scholarships for aspiring females in aviation, expanding its program of supporting female talent.
“Today’s initiative demonstrates United’s longstanding commitment to supporting women in aviation such as employing the most female pilots of any major airline and as the first and only commercial airline to sponsor an all-female technicians team in the international aerospace skills competition. In 2018, United held Girls in Aviation Day events in a record number of 12 locations around the world, and has plans to add even more locations this coming fall.”
What do you think of this move by United? Does the shortfall of female staff in aviation need to be addressed? Let us know in the comments.