airBaltic Promotes Gender Equality Within Pilot Profession

On 29 January airBaltic hosted an exciting event – meetup Tech is in the Air – in cooperation with Riga TechGirls to inform girls and women about pilot profession and their possibilities within it.

Pilot profession historically has been viewed and exclusively men’s profession. Although this perception has shifted, there are still a lot of girls and women simply not being aware of the career opportunities open to them in the sector.

At airBaltic, currently, we have 391 pilots, from whom only 22 are women. That’s why airBaltic decided to join forces with Riga TechGirls to organise a meetup at airBaltic Training Centre inform about women’s possibilities to become a pilot and to develop a career.

First the participants of meetup were introduced with airBaltic as an employer and possibilities that airBaltic Training Pilot Academy offer to become a pilot. Following there were two real-life stories of becoming a pilot and making a career in the profession form Elīna Štēbele, student at the Pilot Academu and Ana Manevski, Q400 Captain at airBaltic.

For more than 5 years, Elīna worked in marketing in several positions including Social Media Manager at airBaltic, and thought she had her career sorted out perfectly. At the age of 25, she decided to chase another one of her dreams, and applied to become a pilot at airBaltic Pilot Academy. 12 months later, she is successfully pursuing her dream, and looking forward to flying passengers on airBaltic flights already by the end of 2020.

Elina: “It was a great pleasure to participare in the Tech Girls event, represent Pilot Academy, and inspire yong women to consider pilot profession as a future career. Even though today you’ll still find more men than women in your usual flight crew, it’s nice to have events like these to remind us that gender doesn’t play a role when it comes down to pilot profession or any other jobs in aviation.”

Ana found her passion for aviation when she was 19 years old and started to work as a secretary in a small aviation company.  She had changed few different job titles within aviation but through the years, she fell in love with the pilot profession and was fortunate enough to follow her dream of becoming one herself. 6 years ago, Ana joined airBaltic and after 2500 hours flown and a maternity leave later, she recently became a captain and reached a significant career goal of every pilot.

Ana thinks that organizing such events is very important to encourage girls and women choose pilot profession: “I do not know any woman – pilot who would have chosen the profession having support by her family and friends. Usually those are fellow women – pilots who can give the necessary motivation and advice. That’s why I am glad to participate and share my story, hopefully encouraging some girl or woman to follow her dream.”

Participants of the meetup were truly inspired by the experiences Elīna and Ana shared, and had many questions to them afterwards. All the girls and women participating at the meetup also had a chance to see Diamond aircraft simulator.

Anna Andersone, representative of Riga TechGirls sees the importance of these events: “There is only 23% of women in technological industries in Latvia, and pilot profession is definitely a technical profession as well. Besides, women working as pilots are even less than in industry average. However, I do not think there are any obstacles for women to work in pilot profession, and it is proved that diversity in teams and organisations improves the work environment and leads to better results.

We were glad to co-operate with airBaltic and give our followers – girls and women – interested in aviation and pilot profession, to hear such an inspiring life-stories!

Riga TechGirls is the first community in Latvia dedicated to educating and inspiring girls & women about technology. airBaltic is glad to have the cooperation with Riga TechGirls and is looking forward to organise other meetups in future as well.