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Pilot gender imbalance will take time to fix: EasyJet

A global imbalance in the number of female compared with male pilots is going to take "some time to change", believes EasyJet’s chief operating officer Chris Browne.

Speaking at the Accelerate Aviation conference in London today, Browne says that worldwide only 5% of pilots are female and that "until recently" they could all fit on board a single Airbus A380.

She says airlines have not done enough to "challenge" themselves to make necessary changes and that long-held gender stereotypes remain within the industry.

Browne says that research carried out by the UK budget carrier revealed that there was still a widespread belief that flying was a job for men and that there is a "total lack" of female role models in the sector.

In 2012, Browne says the Luton-based carrier set itself the target of having 20% of new pilot intake being female by 2020.

She says the airline has succeeded in reaching 15% during the last financial year, with 50 female entry pilots recruited. She says at present 6% of the low-cost carrier's pilots are female.

Browne believes no airline is "doing more" than EasyJet to encourage more women and girls to take up a career in aviation.

She says the airline has visited 200 UK schools and is sponsoring the Brownies ‘Aviation badge’ and is able to reach some 500,000 women and girls through its partnership with the UK girl guiding organisation.

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