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With 100 million new visitors flooding the market every year, airlines must increase their staff to service the demand.

Jordi Lippe-McGraw
April 05, 2016

Asia has quickly become a global hot spot for travelers, welcoming 100 million new visitors every year. This steep increase has led the region to need another 226,000 pilots in the next two decades, according to Boeing, and to meet the need, airlines are focusing their attention on recruiting more women.

“There is such an enormous demand to meet the growth that the gender bias will have to be pushed aside,” Sherry Carbary, vice president of flight services for Boeing Co., told Bloomberg.

Currently, only about five percent of pilots globally are female, according to Liz Jennings Clark, chairwoman of the International Society of Women Airline Pilots, and even fewer are captains. This means airlines will have to expand their recruitment process and advertise to women, something not traditionally done. British Airways already has a photo of a female pilot on its hiring website, and EVA Air is recruiting from universities in Taiwan using ads that show their female pilots.

Vietnam Airlines Corp. is creating work schedules that take into account demands of family life. U.K.-based EasyJet Plc has set up a scholarship with the British Women Pilots Association to underwrite the costs of training women pilots. “Finding capable flight crews isn’t easy,” said Richard Yeh, who oversees pilot training at EVA Air, which says they’re trying to hire 100 pilots a year.

Airlines are also taking into consideration adjusting their pilots’ schedules to accommodate working mothers. “Flying time for female pilots may be limited due to maternity leave or the fact they need time to take care of their kids,” Luu Hoang Minh, a Vietnam Airlines flight crew deputy director, said in an e-mail to the news outlet.

And it’s likely the Asian market isn’t the only one that will recruit more women. Africa is seeing a massive increase in visitors, and the number of air travelers worldwide is expected to double to seven billion by 2034, according to the International Air Transport Association.

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