The traditionally male-dominated world of aviation is one of many industries celebrating International Women’s Day today (8 March).
Just this week, airlines have started to loosen strict rules around cabin crew beauty standards. Virgin Atlantic and Aer Lingus both announced they were dropping their mandatory makeup rule for female cabin crew.
Other airlines are shining a light on their female pilots, among other things.
Here’s what airlines are doing to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Ethiopian Airlines running all-female flight
In a first for the airline, Ethiopian Airlines is operating an all-female flight from Addis Ababa to Stockholm and Oslo today.
Everyone from the flight deck to ground staff, including airport operations and flight dispatch will be women. Plus, air traffic control and catering for this particular flight will be crewed by women.
“We are immensely honoured that we have women trailblazers in every aspect of our aviation field,” said Ethiopian Airlines group chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam.
“Women have been an integral part of our success story from the start and with this dedicated flight we honour and celebrate their indispensable contribution to our aviation group and the broader aviation industry, our country and the continent at large.”
This isn’t the first time that Ethiopian has operated female crew-only flights. The airline has previously flown to Bangkok, Kigali, Lagos and Buenos Aires with female crew.
Norwegian paints iconic women on aircraft tail fins
If you have flown with Norwegian before, you might recognise its planes’ tail fins – which are decorated with portraits of iconic historical figures. Pilot Amy Johnson and author Jane Austen are two figures who already star on the airline’s aircraft.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, Norwegian is adding eight more pioneering British women to the roster, including mathematician Ada Lovelace, authors Charlotte Bronte and Virginia Woolf, and civil rights activist Emmeline Pankhurst.
“Our tail fin heroes celebrate those who have been admired for their accomplishments, as pioneers in their field and who have inspired future generations,” said Anne-Sissel Skånvik, chief communications officer at Norwegian.
“We are proud to increase the number of female British tail fin heroes in our fleet to 10. It is a huge honour to have these renowned women adorn our aircraft and to pay tribute to some of the greatest British women of all time.”
Expect to see their portraits take to the skies later this year.
British Airways hosts event for 100 future pilots
It’s a big year for British Airways: the flag carrier is celebrating its 100th birthday. To celebrate its centenary and International Women’s Day, it invited 100 girls from southeast England to its training centre to inspire them to become pilots.
Typically, women are underrepresented in aviation. According to the Centre for Aviation (Capa), figures for the US and the UK show that just over 4 per cent of pilots are women, although the ratio is growing slowly.
Six per cent of British Airways’ pilots are women, a level it says is above the national average. To improve the ratio, the flag carrier invited girls between 14 and 18 from 30 different schools to meet British Airways’ female pilots and fly in its flight simulator.
The airline has also added a “Wonder Woman” channel to its inflight entertainment, featuring “empowering, feel-good movies and TV shows” including Absolutely Fabulous, Battle of the Sexes and Wonder Woman. It will be live until the end of March.
In 2018, British Airways celebrated International Women’s Day by running the UK’s biggest all-female flight…