IATA AGM: 2021 Diversity & Inclusivity winners

BOSTON, 6 October 2021: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the winners of the 2nd edition of the IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards during its annual general meeting from 3 to 5 October.

The IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards were presented during the World Air Transport Summit (WATS), which followed the 77th IATA Annual General Meeting hosted in Boston, USA.

This year’s winners

Inspirational Role Model: Harpreet A. de Singh, Executive Director, Air India.

High Flyer Award: Lalitya Dhavala, Aviation Engineering Consultant, McLarens Aviation.

Diversity & Inclusion Team: All Nippon Airways (ANA)

“The calibre of this year’s nominations shows the determination of the aviation industry to successfully address the challenges and embrace the opportunities of diversity and inclusion. And this has in no way been diminished by the Covid-19 crisis. The work done by all the nominees is an inspiration for all advocates of diversity across the industry. The prizes are being awarded to three well-deserving recipients, but the true winner is the aviation industry. It grows stronger by the changes being driven by all the great work being done by the awardees and by all who submitted a nomination,” said Karen Walker, on behalf of the judging panel.

“Achieving gender balance across the aviation industry is important. Congratulations to Harpreet Singh, Lalitya Dhavala and ANA for being recognized as leaders in driving change. Thank you for your leadership. With these awards and the whole 25by2025 initiative, we are making progress. There is still a huge amount of work to do to achieve gender balance. And I hope that these awards will inspire others to join the effort,” said  IATA’s director general Willie Walsh.

The IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards are sponsored by Qatar Airways. Each winner receives a prize of USD25,000, payable to the winner in each of the categories or to their nominated charities.

Nominations for the awards were adjudicated by a panel of four judges comprised of the previous winners of these prestigious awards; Christine Ourmières-Widener, CEO, TAP Air Portugal; Fadimatou Noutchemo Simo, Founder and President, Young African Aviation Professional Association (YAAPA); and Christina Kennedy, General Manager, People, Operations and Employee Experience, Air New Zealand. Karen Walker, Editor-in-Chief, Air Transport World, chaired the panel.

Profiles:

Inspirational Role Model: Harpreet A. de Singh, Executive Director, Air India

Harpreet A. de Singh began her career as a pilot, from where she worked her way up, paving the way for women in India to pursue a career in aviation. She was the first female Chief of Flight Safety and the first female accident investigator in India. More recently, she brought to life the ‘Angels of Air India initiative, which is a unique humanitarian workforce to provide support in the area of disaster management. In addition, she has carried out various social work activities and was president of the Indian Women Pilots Association, where she encouraged women from all walks of life to take up the male-dominated profession of an airline pilot.

High Flyer Award: Lalitya Dhavala, Aviation Engineering Consultant, McLarens Aviation

Lalitya Dhavala is the first female engineer in McLarens’ Middle East and Asia region and has made it her mission to inspire a generation of women into the field of aviation. Within McLarens, she is a strong diversity and inclusion advocate where she has proactively driven the organization’s Diversity & Inclusion initiatives. Externally she led the first-ever female team of engineers as part of Airbus’ Fly Your Ideas competition and volunteered extensively through mentoring and career counselling to inspire the next generation of aviation professionals. She is the youngest member elected to the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Advisory Council and Membership Services Board. At RAeS she increased student participation/membership in her region from 30 to approximately 600 and introduced the first young person’s lecture competition outside of the UK.

Additionally, in this category, the judges gave a special commendation to Kgomosto Phatsima, founder of Dare to Dream, for her work on introducing young people to career opportunities in aviation and aerospace through education, networking, mentorship and scholarships.

Diversity & Inclusion Team: All Nippon Airways

Japan is an environment where traditional social gender stereotypes remain strong. ANA has been proactively promoting women’s advancement since 2014. In doing so, it has set measurable goals to increase the number of female leaders and managers within the organization from 9.8% to 17.0%.  Initiatives include introducing a new working approach that allows employees to select their working hours and days to better balance work with family and caring responsibilities. In addition, ANA has pioneered numerous training courses, such as a forum for women in management positions to learn from each other, as well as introducing programs that support cabin crew to move into alternative careers with the airline.

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