Wings Magazine

Women soar at Porter Airlines

Porter Airlines is launching Women Soar at Porter to promote opportunities for women in aviation. This effort coincides with International Women's Day on March 8.

March 7, 2016  By Porter Airlines

Women Soar at Porter aims to bridge the gender gap within all areas of the organization, including Pilots, Leadership, and Ground Operations, as well as other various underrepresented groups.

Initiatives include: creating a resource group for internal development; relationship building with high schools, colleges and flight schools; and partnering with organizations that promote women in aviation and aerospace.

Initial emphasis is on increasing the number of female pilots at Porter. Twelve per cent of the airline’s pilots are women today; more than double the industry’s average of approximately five per cent.

“Women Soar at Porter represents the drive that our team members have to influence change and break down barriers,” said Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines. “Women are generally underrepresented in the aviation industry. There needs to be a fundamental shift in thinking. Being a pilot — or maintenance engineer, or executive — is a job for anyone willing to work hard and with a passion for what they do.”


Aviation began as a male-dominated industry and this is still common for many roles. As such, women do not always see the possibilities available to them in the industry at an early age.

There is also the misconception that a career as an airline pilot means being away from home for an extended period of time on a regular basis. This isn’t always the case. At Porter, pilots with some seniority can choose flying schedules that allow them to be at home before or after school with their family, or they can choose schedules that allow them to fulfill their dream of travelling. Flexibility is a key advantage of the Porter schedule.

A related initiative is the introduction of a Pilot Recruitment Ambassador. This role focuses on developing an external mentorship program for high potential candidates — both women and men.

A number of Porter’s female pilots, management, ground staff and others will represent the airline at two upcoming events that promote awareness for women in aviation and engage a younger generation.

#GirlsCanFly — Saturday, March 5
For the second time in its history, Porter will land a Bombardier Q400 at the Region of Waterloo International Airport (YFK). In July 2010, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh made the roundtrip on a special Porter charter flight from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to Waterloo, as part of a Royal Tour. On March 5, an all-female Porter crew will make the 12-minute flight to Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre for their International Women’s Day event, Girls Can Fly. The event aims to engage hundreds of young girls in aviation activities, including exhibits, free flights (pre-registration) and a pilot speaker series. The girls can also tour the Porter aircraft and take a picture in the flight deck.

#GirlsTakeFlight — Saturday, March 12
Following International Women’s Day, 200 girls and young women will take their first flight at the Ninety-Nines and Durham Flight Centre’s Girls Take Flight event in Oshawa, Ontario. Attendees can also see a mini wind tunnel in action, demo the flight simulator video game, listen to inspirational stories from women in aviation and get up close and personal with numerous aircraft.


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