Self-empowerment needs to be driven by women
UAE employs more women in aviation in the Arab region
Gathering to explore partnerships and best practices
UAE requires 22,000 pilots and crew members by 2033
US$136 billion aviation investment by UAE until 2033
Dubai – The 22nd edition of the world’s largest airport industry B2B platform at Dubai World Trade Centre from 9th May will see the 10th anniversary of the Middle East chapter of the Women in Aviation (WIA) taking off in the region where advancing the role of women in society and the economy has remained a key driver for change.
As the 21st century progress, realization comes about increased female participation in professional and technical jobs turbocharging economic growth in a region. A study by global management consultancy McKinsey across the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, based on interviews, found the key to empowering women in the 21 countries of the Middle East is not only to equip them with access to jobs but also to ensure they have the right support, experience and opportunities once they are working.
According to ICAO, airlines, airports and ANSPs alone employ about three and a half million people globally. Aviation domain is getting increasing attention to attract women in several crucial and technical roles in airports, airlines and ANSPs in the Middle East, especially the UAE, the fast-rising global aviation hub.
Between 2023 and 2033, growth in air passenger and cargo traffic in the Middle East region is expected to outperform all other regions in the world. The UAE will be needing 22,000 pilots and crew members by 2033, three years after its vibrant aviation industry reaches the AED323.6 billion mark. The UAE and Saudi Arabia together constitute 73 per cent of the total fleet size in the region. The UAE is the leading aviation investor, with nearly US$136.1 billion of investment planned between 2023 and 2033, according to the latest market research report by Japan’s Shibuya Data Count (SDKI).
Mervat Sultan, President and Founder, Woman in Aviation Middle East Chapter who is one of the first women in the Arab world to obtain an FAA-GCAA ﬂight dispatch license, remarked, “As the region in general and the UAE, in particular, sees explosive growth in aviation, we have to ensure more stakeholders come into the field and play a far more crucial role in attracting and retaining women in the civil aviation industry.”
She added, “The aviation industry should now talk about how important is to hone the skills of women and how to facilitate proper education and training to the new generation. The pandemic has given us the opportunity to get into the market of new technology and we must make use of the educational institutions and training centers for enrolling more women in the aviation domain.”
The 22nd edition of Airport Show, organized by RX Global, will host as one of its co-located events the WIA Middle East chapter’s 10th anniversary to take further the growth agenda, The knowledge-sharing platform will run for two days under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.
The speakers will talk about inspiring and encouraging young females and women to pursue aviation careers. The panellists include Captain Kristina Tervo, Roula Droubi, Dr Nadine Itani, Aida Ismail and Nadia Gharaybeh. Another session will be on training, partnerships, best practices and career development, with Dr Gerasimos Kontos, Dr Asmaa Nusairi and Dr Lilit Tshughuryan as the speakers. The keynote speech will be by pilot Nour Utyiam.
The session on AI and Women in Aviation will have as speakers Hind Al Budoor, Malak Trabelsi Loeb, Reem Hussain Ismail Al Saffar and Noora Ahmed Janahi. In the session on the Power of Social Media in Empowering Women in Aviation, Captain Feras Malallah, Captain Abdulaziz Alshoail, Captain Theresa and Shaesta Waiz will speak. The occasion will be utilized to present eight coveted awards –
- Leadership Award
- Innovative Leadership Award
- Best Training Institution
- Best Educational Institution
- Most Supportive Company for WAI-Middle East
- Most Sustainable Company in Aviation
- Most Recognised Women in Aviation
- Achiever Award
Merwat Sultan says diversity and inclusiveness have been under focus around the world but the aviation industry lacks them and it must take significant steps towards it. Globally, women account for less than 20 per cent of the workforce in the aviation industry and their entry into the sector has been stagnant over the previous six years according to the 2022 report by the Women in Aviation Advisory Board at the US Federal Aviation Administration. Only six per cent of airlines, according to IATA, have a female CEO, broadly in line with the global average reported in 2022. After the first WAI’s regional chapter was launched in 2013, it has been encouraging females to grab more places in the aviation sector and go beyond just being a pilot, flight attendants or ticketing agents.