easyJet and Flybe – promoting female pilot recruitment

This article was originally published in the October 2018 issue of our Airline Marketing Monthly.

UK airlines Flybe and easyJet have both been active in encouraging more women to join its workforce, in particular, in flight crew roles.  

“Catch Up, If You Can” by easyJet

UK airline easyJet staged a stunt at the end of August to encourage more women to become pilots. In a video filmed at London Southend Airport, easyJet reimagined the classic scene from Hollywood movie ‘Catch Me If You Can’, where Leonardo DiCaprio walks through an airport dressed as a pilot, flanked by female cabin crew.

easyJet’s imaginative twist involved recruiting the kids of airline employees, with the role of DiCaprio being played by nine-year-old Hannah Revie, the daughter of real easyJet captain Emily Revie. Hannah Revie was then flanked by an entourage of boys, playing the role of cabin crew.

With only 5% of pilots worldwide being women, and with the industry facing a potential shortage as passenger/flight demand fails to keep up with pilot supply, easyJet has for a number of years been actively promoting its female pilot recruitment programmes. This includes the Amy Johnson initiative, which we’ve covered in past issues, where the goal is to raise the airline’s female pilot intake to 20%.

easyJet released a survey to accompany its ‘Catch Up, If You Can’ stunt. An internal poll of 500 easyJet pilots found that as children, the boys were more likely than girls to consider a career as a pilot. More than half (55%) of male pilots knew they wanted the job by the age of ten. Women were less keen, as only half (50%) had only thought about the career by the time they were 16 – or even older.

easyJet also has a dedicated micro-site about pilot careers, which answers FAQs such as “Can you be a pilot if you wear glasses?” (A – yes depending on certain requirements), and links to different flight academies and training programmes.

Airline Marketing Monthly, SimpliFlying

“flyshe” by Flybe

Another UK airline promoting female recruitment in aviation is Flybe, which in September launched its “flyshe” campaign, also underpinned by a campaign microsite.

The microsite looks comprehensive and informative.  Rather than an exercise in corporate tokenism, it feels authentic, showing that Flybe really believes in this initiative.

The site starts with a video and a piece of introductory text that states:
“Unfortunately, there are still some professions where women are still not trusted to do as good a job as a man. High trust roles like a surgeon, soldier and pilot.

This is having a huge impact on the aviation industry, as the key roles of pilot, engineer and high-level management are all seen as jobs for the boys.

In our recent survey, only 5% of flyers said they’d feel safer with a woman at the controls.  These shocking gender biases are endemic in popular culture and ingrained at an early age.”

The video then shows a group of ten school girls who were asked to draw a pilot – all ten drew men.


The website directs visitors to different job sections such as information on becoming a pilot, a flight attendant, in maintenance or the head office.

The whole initiative is fronted by CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener, currently the UK’s only airline chief executive and one of the few in the world.

Saudi airline Flynas starts female co-pilot recruitment

Finally in Saudi Arabia, airline Flynas received 1,000 applications after an advert for female co-pilots was posted. The Middle East Eye reports that this move supports both the Government’s initiatives to have more women participate in the country’s economy, while also getting more native Saudis into the workforce, as opposed to expats.  

Get more insights into airline marketing and branding by subscribing to Airline Marketing Monthly. Or, watch our daily SimpliFlying Live Show on Facebook or Youtube to hear Shashank Nigam’s comments.

Can women make good pilots? EasyJet and FlyBe think so!

How are airlines encouraging women to become pilots?#SimpliLive #EP349Show notes:1) easyJet "Catch me if you can" – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ANDw32oFLg2) Flybe's FlyShe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaOgaoh_-_o

Posted by SimpliFlying on Wednesday, September 26, 2018

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