Aviation promotes freedom and connects people, businesses, and cultures across the world. This connectivity has been hampered by COVID-19. As aviation restarts and takes more people to the skies, it’s important to appreciate all those professionals who bring out the diversity of our world into the industry to make it more equitable and inclusive.
The IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards, sponsored by Qatar Airways, aim to recognize and celebrate the great work that is being done to ensure Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are at the heart of the industry restart.
Congratulations for your hard work to advance gender balance in the aviation industry!
Inspirational Role Model: Güliz Öztürk - CEO at Pegasus
As the first female CEO in the field of air transportation in the history of Turkish civil aviation, Öztürk serves as a strong inspiration for women in Türkiye and around the aviation world. She joined Pegasus in 2005. As Chief Commercial Officer she pioneered numerous diversity and inclusion initiatives. Öztürk is also the co-chair of the airline’s Women in Sales Network, a company-wide initiative to improve gender balance in commercial departments.
Öztürk is heavily involved in the Sales Network’s mentoring program that aims to support female professionals within the airline. In 2019, she received the “Sales Leader of the Year” award and in 2021 she was the winner of the LiSA Leader of the Year award.
Öztürk’s efforts shaped Pegasus Airlines as a commercial entity and in doing so, she put a lot of focus on diversity & inclusion that continues to this day.
High Flyer: Kanchana Gamage - Founder and Director of the Aviatrix Project
As a diversity champion from an ethnic minority background, UK-based Gamage continues to be a role model for the next generation of women. Having worked on bridging the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) gap, particularly in relation to the under representation of women in the aviation industry, Gamage launched The Aviatrix Project in 2015. The aim of the project is to raise awareness, particularly among women and girls but also people from diverse backgrounds, about aviation as a potential career choice.
Having started her career in education, Gamage believes that role models are key to changing the landscape. The Aviatrix Project offers sustainable, long-term outreach to ensure that there is a pipeline of diverse talent into the industry. As part of the project, Gamage works closely with primary and secondary schools in the United Kingdom as well as higher education institutions to encourage girls to pursue STEM options and raise enthusiasm for aviation careers. The project also offers flights, bursaries, and a mentoring program for aspiring pilots as well as support for parents.
Gamage believes that collaboration is the key to successful diversity and inclusion initiatives and that this is the time to move from representation to transformational change.
Diversity & Inclusion Team: airBaltic
AirBaltic’s core values “We deliver. We care. We grow” reflect the airline’s approach to operating in a globalized industry, such as aviation. Diversity and inclusion have become a key differentiator for the carrier, which has introduced a strict zero discrimination policy and where 45% of the airline’s top management team comprises women, a figure that is significantly higher than the industry’s average.
AirBaltic is recognized for promoting gender equality across the company. The airline has a 50% gender split among all managers and 64% of women managers have been promoted internally to their current positions. In addition, airBaltic has worked on reducing the gender pay gap to 6%, which is well below the European average.
Last year, airBaltic identified high potential employees for the internal ALFA leadership program where 47% of the nominees are female. In addition, airBaltic continues its efforts to increase the number of women working in fields traditionally associated with male roles, such as pilots, technicians, or maintenance personnel, and actively encourages young women to embark on these career paths. Finally, as part of its diversity and inclusion effort, last year the proportion of male cabin crew at airBaltic increased from 13% to 20%.
Diversity & Inclusion Awards are awarded in three categories of leadership in diversity and inclusion:
- Inspirational Role Model: Will be presented to a woman who holds a senior position within the industry who has had a significant impact on the aviation agenda through her strong contribution to business delivery, as well as her ongoing support of the diversity & inclusion agenda. Open to all female participants in the aviation industry (IATA members and non-members alike).
- High Flyer: Designed to recognize one of aviation’s female professionals (i.e. under the age of 40) who has developed thought leadership through concrete action in favor of diversity & inclusion, making a positive impact on the industry. Open to all female professionals in the aviation industry (IATA members and non-members alike).
- Diversity & Inclusion Team: Designed to recognize an airline that has seen measurable change in diversity and inclusion as a result of the work it has been doing. Open to all IATA member airlines.
For more information, please refer to the Terms and Conditions.
Each award category comes with US$25,000 in prize money, generously funded by Qatar Airways.
The 2022 nominations were evaluated by an independent panel consisting of the recipients of the 2021 Awards: Harpreet A. de Singh, Executive Director, Air India; Lalitya Dhavala, Aviation Engineering Consultant, McLarens Aviation and Jun Taneie, Director of D&I Promotion, All Nippon Airways (ANA). The judging panel will be chaired by Karen Walker, Editor-in-Chief of Air Transport World.
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