Aviation

How Air Canada is making its mark on gender equality, locally and globally

Travel Weekly are strong supporters of equality and diversity in the workplace, and with the Women in Travel Awards 2019 just days away, we wanted to shine the light on a company that truly values female representation across the board.

With approximately 30,000 staff worldwide and more than 43 per cent of those being women, Air Canada has long been recognised for promoting equal opportunities to all qualified people regardless of gender.

Of the airline’s senior management positions, around 30 per cent are now occupied by women.

These include Air Canada’s most senior leadership positions in Asia, Europe and the US, covering business development, global sales and regulatory matters, as well as running all international operations.

The airline also employs more than 420 women in ‘non-traditional roles’, including pilots, flight dispatchers, mechanics, engineers, technicians and in aircraft operations.

In 2018, Air Canada received Gender Parity Certification from Canadian organisation Women in Governance. The Parity Certification was established in 2017 to help Canadian businesses increase the representation of women in leadership positions.

Air Canada has also been recognised as one of Canada’s Top Diversity Employers for the last four years.

The award honours Canadian companies that create inclusive workplaces for employees from five diverse groups: women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, and LGBTQ people.

And in March of this year, Air Canada marked International Women’s Day by operating a flight from Montreal to Brussels with all female pilots and flight attendants.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight, was additionally supported by female ground crews providing customer boarding, aircraft servicing, loading, pushback and flight watching functions.

This was the fourth consecutive year Air Canada has featured an all-female flight on International Women’s Day.

Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, senior vice president of people, culture and communications at Air Canada said that by having a diverse and inclusive workforce, the airline can attract and retain the best talent.

“Our customers and stakeholders also see themselves and their cultures reflected in our 30,000 employees,” she said.

“Our people work in more than more than 80 languages and women occupy prominent roles throughout our airline, from non-traditional roles to the C-suite.”

However, it’s also important to note that Air Canada’s push for more female representation is also noticeable at a regional and local level, with a number of women holding a variety of key roles within the airline. Here are four of them:

 

Kiyo Weiss – director of regional and premium sales, Asia Pacific

Kiyo Weiss, who will travel to Sydney for the Women in Travel Awards from Tokyo to present the airline’s sponsored category, is very much a trailblazer in the regional aviation sector.

Weiss grew up in Tokyo and comes from a traditional Japanese family, with her father a senior executive and her mother managing the home.

Her career began as a sales assistant in the chemical department at Mitsui & Co. during a period in which career paths for Japanese female graduates were relatively limited and key positions reserved for men.

Weiss eventually entered the travel industry as a sales representative for United Airlines, where she rose to district sales manager.

Weiss then moved to Air Canada in 2009 as the head of sales and marketing in Japan before becoming general manager in 2013 (the first female GM of any airline in Japan at the time). She was appointed to her current role in November 2018.

 

Fei Revel – sales planning manager, Australia and New Zealand

Fei Revel (Air Canada)

Revel entered the travel industry in 2001 as a group sales officer with China Southern Airlines.

She joined Air Canada in 2011 as a reservations agent/group sales coordinator, and over the past seven years has worked across a broad range of areas, including customer service, revenue optimisation, and commercial analytics.

As sales planning manager, Revel plays a pivotal role in developing Air Canada’s growth strategy for the Australian market.

She also manages the airline’s sales support team in the pricing, inside sales and group sales areas, and is responsible for local sales reporting, commercial analysis, forecasting and business intelligence.

 

Claire Alexander – airport operations manager, Australia

Alexander’s career in the aviation sector began in 1990 when she joined Continental Airlines’ airport operations team in Sydney. She then moved on to Cathay Pacific before joining Air Canada in 1996 as an airport supervisor.

As the manager of airport operations in Australia, Alexander oversees all of Air Canada’s airport activities at its Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne ports.

She is also responsible for the day-to-day running of the airline’s operation at Sydney Airport, which involves working with ‘above- and below-the-wing’ contractors and service providers to deliver everything from check-in facilities, customer service and baggage loading to inflight catering and cabin services.

 

Sarah Constable – corporate sales manager

Sarah Constable (Air Canada)

After beginning her career as a retail travel consultant, Constable joined Air Canada back in 2004 as a sales executive.

She left in 2008 to gain experience at one of Australia’s leading corporate travel specialists, before returning to the airline in 2016 as a business development executive.

Now as corporate sales manager, Constable is responsible for driving and maximising Air Canada’s corporate contract business in the Australian market, along with developing high-level relationships with travel management companies.


Air Canada is a sponsor of this year’s Women in Travel Awards, which will be held on Thursday 20 June at Doltone House – Hyde Park in Sydney.

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