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U.S. Airlines Celebrate Women’s History Month  

Throughout the month of March, A4A’s member airlines have celebrated Women’s History Month and honored trailblazing women across the aviation industry.  At A4A, we take pride in joining our members in celebrating the contributions women have made in aviation.

Alaska : Alaska Airlines highlighted Fleet Captain Jennifer Kelsey who started flying at 16 years old.  After graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, she joined the Air National Guard where she flew the C-130 Hercules in missions from Afghanistan and Antarctica. In 2005, she joined Alaska Airlines where she moved from captain to flight operations duty officer to check pilot and now serves as fleet captain. “We don’t want to be female pilots. We just want to be pilots,” Kelsey said.

American: American Airlines shared Captain Beverley Bass’ journey on how she became the first woman to earn the rank of Captain at American Airlines and one of the first female captains in the United States. When young girls ask her how she has done it, Captain Bass replies with, “You have to be good at your jobs. You have to maintain respect and be true to yourself.” Captain Bass flew the first all-female crew of pilots and flight attendants in 1987.

Atlas: On International Women’s Day which falls during Women’s History Month, Atlas Air operated an all-women flight crew from Fort Worth, Texas, to Cincinnati, Ohio; piloting the flight was Captains Deanna Stack and Dorothea Flockenhaus. Prior to the flight, Captain Deanna Stack shared insights in hopes of inspiring other young women to pursue careers in aviation. “I find incredible joy in this industry and flying because we have the privilege of soaring to new heights and exploring unique destinations around the globe that many people may never have the opportunity to visit,” said Captain Stack. Captain Dorothea Flockenhaus offered advice to young women, “Seize the opportunity! Embrace your fears and forge ahead – the rewards are unparalleled. It’s deeply fulfilling and takes you across the world, ensuring you’ll never feel like a stranger anywhere and you’ll always find your way home.”

Delta: On February 29th, Delta proudly sponsored the Women in Aviation Career Exploitation Panel Event in Orland, Florida, where professionals from the travel industry provided insight on aviation career paths and offered advice to young women in high school and college who are interested in pursuing a career in the aviation industry. Delta also partnered with Junior Achievement African All-Girls LEAD from March 7th to 11th to commemorate International Women’s Day. This event aimed to empower girls to cultivate the skills they need to become future leaders. The airline shared travel guides created by employees from across various business resource groups (BRGs) to promote Women’s History Month.

FedEx: Chief Customer Officer Brie Carere and Chief People Officer Tracy Brightman, who both have been with FedEx for more than 20 years, celebrated International Women’s Day by highlighting hard-working women across the globe. “Our powerful culture is a driving force in attracting and retaining talent and we are very fortunate to have many exceptional women as part of team FedEx,” said Brightman. “We have so much to celebrate. We have female truck driving champions, we have the first ever mother-daughter copilot on an international flight, that is pretty darn cool. And of course, I am incredibly privileged to get to work with so many talented women every single day,” added Carere.

Hawaiian : Hawaiian Airlines celebrated Women’s History Month by asking the Hawaiian Air Cargo wāhine (women) to share what they love most about their jobs. One employee, Leanne Nishimoto-Liu, a 20-year cargo agent currently at Līhuʻe Airport said, “I feel like we get to know our customers on a different level, like learning where they work and what they do.”  Delrie “Ku’uipo” Anderson, cargo capacity supervisor who’s been at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu the past 13 years, said that Hawaiian Airlines offers her “the chance to make a positive difference every day.”  

JetBlue: JetBlue became the first major U.S. airline to name a female CEO; Joanna Geraghty assumed the role in January. Additionally, JetBlue has been showing that women can do it all, and not just in March. The carrier highlighted Karen R., director of technical operations strategic support, who has emphasized the significance of women’s roles throughout the industry since she joined JetBlue in 2002. “Don’t be discouraged if you are a woman in a predominantly male profession. Step out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, and be open to learning new things,” said Karen.  

Southwest: Southwest highlighted Mary, managing director in network operations and planning and Kimberly, team leader in customer support and services who are two leaders from Women@SWA, Southwest’s women’s employee resource group. One of the reasons Mary loves Women’s History Month is because it “gives the opportunity to showcase women that have existed, lived in the past that have really shaped where we are today.” To Kimberly, WHM means promoting women and all the different hats that they wear: “It’s a time for us to celebrate all that we embody as women.”

United: This month, United hosted its annual Girls in Aviation Day with its partner uIMPACT, a women’s business resource group (BRG), and in collaboration with Women in Aviation International. This experience allowed over 800 girls to explore airports, discover aircraft as well as connect with women leaders. United also sponsored the 2024 Women in Aviation International Conference in Orlando  where the pilot hiring team will have the opportunity to interview prospective pilots. 

UPS: UPS is led by one of the few women CEOs in the Fortune 500 ranks, Carol B. Tomé? UPS shared five fun facts throughout Women’s History Month:

  • The Women’s Leadership Development BRG includes 4,000 active members across 54 chapters globally— more chapters than any other BRG at UPS.
  • 27 percent of full-time management in their global workforce are women.

Since 2018, the Women’s Exporters Program, which is committed to supporting women entrepreneurs, has trained more than 100,000 female and small business owners and connected them to the global economy.

For more information on how the airline industry is contributing to a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world, visit A4A’s Diversity, Equality and Inclusion page.  

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