Support Skift’s Independent Journalism

Skift’s editors and reporters produce over 150 exclusive stories every month. We are the leading source of news for the global travel industry.

Female pilots are still a rarity at airlines including Russia’s Aeroflot PJSC and Dubai-based Emirates, even as carriers ramp up efforts to narrow the gender gap.

The companies, along with Qatar Airways, Finnair Oyj and Jetconnect of New Zealand, have the lowest ratio of women aviators, a study by travel platform indicates. The ranking of 45 airlines draws on data from the Air Line Pilots Association and International Society of Women Airline Pilots.

“We have just over 30 female pilots among our about 1,000 flight deck staff, and we have been working hard to increase that share,” Finnair spokeswoman Päivyt Tallqvist said by phone. “We’ve been doing targeted recruitment and in recent rounds the proportion of women has increased.”

Aeroflot employs about 4,200 pilots, of whom 58 are women, the study says. The Russian carrier said its main unit now has 62 female aviators, among whom 48 are front-line personnel, with nine holding the rank of captain. The rest are employed in training roles.

The company said it treats male and female applicants equally, with no special measures to encourage a more equal balance.

Recent Recruits

Emirates, the world’s biggest airline on long-haul routes, said it hires pilots “on the basis of merit, expertise and experience,” and that while it actively seeks all suitable applicants, the proportion of male candidates is higher.

The Mideast company said that of its 99 female cockpit crew, more than one-third were recruited in the past two years.

Qatar Air declined to comment, while Jetconnect didn’t return phone calls and emails outside regular business hours.

Smaller airlines head the list, with Australia’s QantasLink top on close to 12% female pilots, and U.K.-based FlyBe Group Plc tied for second with Luxair, the Luxembourg flag-carrier. Hawaiian Airlines is the leading U.S. operator.

The global average for women cockpit crew is 5.2%, with most major players ranking around that level, according to the study.

–With assistance from Layan Odeh and Ilya Khrennikov.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Richard Weiss from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Photo Credit: Two female pilots from the Brazilian airline Gol sit in the cockpit. Some airlines have few female pilots, according to a new study. Bloomberg