Women in Aviation Take Flight

More women are stepping into leadership roles in aviation, bringing a welcome balance to the industry that will help to safeguard its future successes, key Cairns figures say.

It comes as the industry celebrates Women of Aviation Worldwide Week from March 6-12, coinciding with International Women’s Day this Wednesday.   

Cairns Airport Chief Executive Officer Richard Barker said, while there was still a way to go, it was promising to see more women in senior aviation roles.

“In the Cairns Airport office, 40 per cent of the leadership team is female and 20 women hold management positions,” he said.

“A diverse workforce helps to power greater collaboration, creativity and innovation, which is crucial for a business to adapt and thrive.”

Alana McKenna is the Chief Executive Officer of Skytek, a Cairns-based business specialising in aviation maintenance and repair. She has noticed more women in leadership roles now than ever before.

“Aviation offers many opportunities for both women and men and whilst it has been a male-dominated industry this is changing, slowly,” Ms McKenna said.

“With the variety of roles on offer along with flexible hours there are many roles within aviation for skilled and non-skilled females looking to start a career path or make a career change.  With no two days ever the same and the ability to travel with some roles, it’s an exciting industry to work in.”

“Playing a part in people’s career journeys is extremely rewarding for me.”

Sheree Gall is the Airside Infrastructure Manager for Cairns Airport. Her role involves engineering and management of major infrastructure assets, including aerodrome lighting, pavements, drainage and electrical.

“As an engineer, my entire career has been within industries viewed as male-dominated, some more than others,” she said.

“We have a great mix of men and women in various roles and at differing levels at Cairns Airport.  If viewed as a male-dominated industry in the past, it is certainly not that today.”

Natalie Cross is the Team Leader of the Far North Queensland Detector Dog Unit and has been with the Australian Border Force for more than 20 years.

“Women are well represented in the ABF detector dog team, and I’m very grateful for it. I really appreciate the strong female role models in the detector dog unit, both leaders, and colleagues,” she said.

“There is a strong sense of community at Cairns Airport. No matter who you work for or what your role is, everyone knows each other and knows we are all here with the same goal of facilitating the public, and ultimately helping to keep the community safe.”

North Queensland Airports Group (NQA), owner and operator of Cairns Airport, has a 44 per cent female workforce. NQA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan features gender diversity as a key focus area.

Women of Aviation Worldwide Week (WOAW) is a global aviation awareness week for girls of all ages, observed to mark the anniversary of the world’s first female pilot licence (March 8, 1910).