Airline praised for effort to make equal number of female pilots

Must See 12/11/2018

Virgin Australia's efforts to increase the number of female pilots is beginning to pay off with the number of women involved in their pilot cadet programme rising a massive 200 percent on the previous intake.

The airline committed to a 50- 50 gender target at the beginning of this year. Currently 56 percent of cadets are female.

And overall enrolment is on the increase too, with more applications being submitted this year than ever before.

The growth in the number of people studying for a career in aviation will be good news to the industry, which is on track for an 'unprecedented' pilot shortage.

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing says airlines will need to find nearly 800,000 pilots within 20 years to keep up with the massive growth in the aviation industry. Asia will need 260,000 of those and 320,000 cabin crew need to be found in the Asia-Pacific region alone.

Stuart Aggs from Virgin Australia said the push for more female recruits has not come at the cost of quality applications.

"At the end of the day, the selection process is merit based, and the application and assessment process sets a necessarily very high standard. Candidates are exposed to screening and panel interviews, abilities testing, personality profiling, computer based learning and examination, and reference checks. We also look at cultural fit, motivation, passion, and community involvement," Mr Aggs said.

This announcement comes after the Virgin Australia Group was selected by Tamworth Regional Council in October as the preferred airline group to establish a world-class pilot training centre in the New South Wales city.

"The future looks bright for this next generation of pilots, and we're excited to have the opportunity to play a part in the development of this promising group of cadets and welcome them to what is a very exciting industry," Ms Gemmell said.

At the end of the training course, cadets graduate with a Commercial Pilot Licence and are offered employment by Virgin Australia.