Aer Lingus has appointed its first ever female CEO, with Lynne Embleton joining the airline from IAG Cargo on 6 April 2021. In addition to being the Chief Executive at IAG, she has also worked in various roles at Gatwick Airport, British Airways and BA CityFlyer.

Bringing that wealth of experience to the successful Irish airline should benefit the organisation and its employees. Seeing what direction the airline takes over the next couple of years under her stewardship will be interesting.

Why Is This News?

It is not that unusual for an airline to be having its first female CEO here in 2021. There aren’t too many airlines that can claim to have been led by a woman, something that the aviation industry is aware of and is changing slowly. In fact, just 3% of airline CEOs are female, which is far lower than the average of 12% across all industries, it in itself a scandalously low figure.

There is a 25 by 2025 initiative in place in aviation, where some airlines have pledged to have 25% of women in key positions or will have increased gender diversity by 25% by 2025. Whether this is still on track considering the pandemic is anyone’s guess.

Other Female Airline CEOs

Several other airlines have or have had female CEOs. In Europe, Carolyn McCall was the very successful CEO of easyJet from 2010 to 2017. Upon her appointment, she was just one of five female CEOs of a FTSE 100 index company. Another orange low fares airline, Jetstar in Australia, also had a female leader in Jayne Hrdlicka, from 2012 to 2018.

Air France appointed Anne Rigail into the top job in December 2018 and another French businesswoman, Christine Ourmières-Widener, was CEO of Ireland’s CityJet from 2010 to 2015 and then FlyBe from 2017 to 2019. Also worth mentioning are people like Claudia Sender of LATAM Brasil and Aireen Omar of AirAsia, plus several others.

Overall Thoughts

I’m all for women in leadership and throughout my own career I’ve mainly had female managers, which bucks the trend. A person’s gender makes no difference to me – it all comes down to an individual’s management style at the end of the day.

Hopefully the aviation industry keeps encouraging female leaders to grow and get promoted through the ranks as time progresses. It can only be a good thing when old boys clubs are broken up and become more diverse.

What do you think of the new Aer Lingus CEO and female airline CEOs in general? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Pitmanaaron.
Air France by Kambui.