Women Power is one of the most debated issue across the globe. At EBACE 2017, the contributions made by women in the industry is highly appreciated, highlighting women power in the aviation industry.
Helene Niedhart, CEO, CAT Aviation, a Switzerland based company, fell in love with aviation in 1980. it was the first flight that she took over the Grand Canyon.
Speaking on Monday at EBACE 2017, Neidhart explained about the experience of flying low just few feet above the trees, passing close to the massive rocks, dipping into the canyon like a bird, all this was something that she never forget.
From that moment she aimed to become a pilot and wasted no time in enrolling for the first lesson. On the first day she showed up in heels and a sundress, much to her instructor’s chagrin. However, her wardrobe quickly changes and by 1987 she finally earned her air transport pilot certificates.
Unfortunately, during that time, women were not employed for pilot jobs in Switzerland. She had no chance for landing a pilot job, Neidhart recalls. All this did not stopped the steely determined woman. She went to US and purchased a Cessna 421 and started her of company in Switzerland with the name CAT Aviation.
CAT is short for Commercial Air Transportation. The strong step taken by Neidhart soon became a topic of laughter and gossip among pilots. All this only strengthened the resolve and she says that she is thankful to all these people and they unknowingly helped her.
This year CAT Aviation has turned 30 years old as a charter and management company. It has a fleet of Dassault Falcon 200s and 7Xs, and a Hawker 125-800. Once the CAT Aviation became a well known brand, all those gossiping stopped.
Neidhart shares her story with all those present at the Cleared for Take Off. Female industry leaders provided an insight on their success, offered advice, inspired and shared ideas, at the Women’s Networking Event held at the Inspiration Zone, on how women can contribute more in the industry.
The event was kicked off by Ed Bolen, president and CEO, NBAA. She stated that there are a number of women who have played a significant role in shaping the aviation industry in Europe, US and rest of the world. However, this group is often underrated and it need serious consideration.
These sentiments were also echoed by Taunya Renson-Martin. She also stated that, this shortcoming needs to be addressed seriously and next generation should take inspiration from role models. The matter goes beyond the aviation industry. It starts due to a lack of interest in STEM subject among women.
The need for women to mentor and network to help build a base was highlighted by the participants in the event. Karin Muller is the regional director business development EU at Sterling-Global Aviation Logistics and has considerable experience in aviation industry. She has worked for Bombardier and AAR.
At the event at EBACE 2017, Muller tells about the Women in Corporation Aviation (WCA) organization to the participants. She joined the organization almost two decades back and is now the director in the European branch of WCA. She stated that she saw what WCA was doing in the US and saw a great potential of bringing it in Europe.
Cecile Coune, CEO of aviation insurer Aviabel, highlighted the problems faced in increasing the number of women on C-level executive positions and as boards of directors. Coune stated that more women have joined the boards in the past few years, however, this progress has mainly been in non-decision-making and non-executive positions.
The need for bringing in more women in the industry and for higher position was highlighted by Coune at this event at EBACE 2017.