(Posted 08th March 2022)

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, an all-female crew flight will depart from Brussels Airport to Marseille on Tuesday, March 8. Brussels Airlines is committed to diversity in all its departments, as diverse perspectives lead to better decision-making. In its top management, 37.5% of positions are held by women. On International Women’s Day, the company puts extra emphasis on the number of women and their roles in the organization. Under the theme “break the bias,” the company wants to encourage men and women to put aside prejudices about typically male or female professions.

Under the theme “#Breakthebias”, everyone worldwide is asked to imagine a world without prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination; a world that is diverse, just and inclusive; a world where differences are valued and celebrated. Brussels Airlines supports the initiative and wishes to highlight the important role of women in aviation.

With an all-female crew, Brussels Airlines flight SN3597 is on its way from Brussels to Marseille. Captain Ann and First Officer Mio are in the cockpit while Purser Vanessa and cabin crew members Aurélie and Katrien take care of the service and safety in the cabin. With this symbolic flight, Brussels Airlines wants to draw extra attention to gender equality in aviation.

Said Captain Ann van Grieken:

My dad was a pilot and I really wanted to follow in his footsteps. I remember very well how, thirty years ago, I said “I’m going to be a pilot.” People laughed, “You? Pilot? That is why I am particularly proud today that a flight with two women in the cockpit at Brussels Airlines is no longer an exception.  Even though at Brussels Airlines we are with more than 10% female pilots well above the average percentage worldwide, we still have to increase that number significantly. Not only here but also in other countries, where becoming a female pilot is often still not an option at all. It is therefore important to continue to fight for equality in the cockpit and in other professions that are still too often seen as typically male. I hope that today, together with Brussels Airlines, we can inspire girls and women to make their dreams come true and choose the profession they really want to do, even if it is not an obvious choice.”

In addition to women in the cockpit and other operational roles, Brussels Airlines also values gender diversity in its management. IATA (International Air Transport Association) has set the goal of having at least 25% women in top management roles in all airlines by 2025. At Brussels Airlines, the target is 35%. In reality, however, women hold 37.5% of the positions in Brussels Airlines’ top management today. In general, the male-female split at the Belgian carrier is 51.5% women, with the cabin crew departments (71.5%) and airport staff (75%) having the highest proportion of women. In the cockpit, the proportion is 10% at Brussels Airlines, where the industry average is between 4 and 5%. Also in the Maintenance & Engineering department, a still male dominated world, 4% of Brussels Airlines employees are women.

Brussels Airlines operated an all female crew flight to Entebbe and Kigali in 2019, the year before the global COVID19 pandemic struck, following which Entebbe International Airport was closed for several months in 2020, while in 2021 continued pandemic hotspots did not allow for such celebrations.

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