Virgin Australia celebrates International Women’s Day with all-female flight

The all-female crew stand in front of a Virgin Australia aircraft for International Women's Day
Photo Credit: Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia has commemorated International Women’s Day by fielding a flight dispatched, operated, and managed by an all-women team.

The landmark flight VA313 departed Melbourne at 8:10am and arrived in Brisbane at 9:20am local time, with more than 10 different roles performed by over 20 women.

Today’s flight ably demonstrates the diverse positions held by women right across Virgin Australia. 

The operational flight plan was constructed and issued by a female Flight Dispatcher and all weight and balance activities were performed by a female Load Controller in the airline’s Integrated Operations Centre. 

The Australian carrier‘s scheduled flight VA313 was crewed by an all-female team in the flight deck and cabin, managed by an all-female pit crew team at both the departure and arrival airport, and supported by female airport safety officers and air traffic controllers.

All-female ground crew load Virgin Australia flight VA313 for International Women's Day 2023.
An all female operated Virgin flight on International Women’s Day at Melbourne Airport Wednesday, March 08, 2023. Photo Credit: Virgin Australia

Flight VA313 role list

The Virgin Australia role list for the all-woman VA313 team included:

  • Captain
  • First Officer
  • Cabin Manager
  • Cabin Crew
  • Leading Hand
  • Foxtrot
  • Pushback Driver
  • Loading
  • Guest Services
  • Flight Dispatch
  • Load Control

Virgin Australia Chief People Officer, Lisa Burquest said the initiative highlighted how far aviation has come in terms of gender diversity and showcased the opportunities available to women interested in pursuing a career in the industry.

“This flight is a celebration of all the incredible women who continue to pave a path for future generations to pursue a career in this exciting and dynamic industry and I am thrilled to see it come to life in collaboration with our partners,” she said.

“Behind every aircraft in the sky, there is a highly-skilled team working together to ensure passengers get to their destinations safely, and for this flight, every one of these roles is carried out by women.

“It’s an exciting time to join Virgin Australia as we ramp up our operations and continue to look for people from all walks of life who are seriously passionate about what they do, to join our fun and inclusive team,” Ms Burquest said.

Melbourne Airport Chief Executive Officer, Lorie Argus said she hoped the flight would inspire more women to work in aviation.

“As the first female CEO at Melbourne Airport, I’m determined to highlight that women can forge meaningful and rewarding careers in aviation.

“There are plenty of diverse and exciting career opportunities spanning airports, airlines and air traffic control, from engineering, maintenance and safety positions, pilots, and cabin crew to corporate and commercial roles.

“I’ve personally spent more than 30 years in air travel, it’s such a multifaceted industry and as aviation returns to full strength, I really hope today’s flight encourages more women to consider working in the sector,” she said.

Brisbane Airport Corporation Executive General Manager Human Resources, Jane Dionysius said she was looking forward to the day an all-women flight was no longer news.

“There isn’t a single role across aviation that women can’t do and today’s flight proves that. I look forward to a time when seeing women across aviation isn’t extraordinary, it’s the everyday,” she said.

Airservices Australia Chief Executive Officer Jason Harfield said the organisation is proudly supporting VA313 to shine a light on the power of what women can achieve across aviation – and all industries.

“From our air traffic management services through to our Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting Service or engineering or information technology roles, there are a myriad of exciting, dynamic and flexible career opportunities for women at Airservices,” Mr Harfield said.

History of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8th to recognize and celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

It is also a day to raise awareness about the ongoing fight for gender equality and women’s rights around the world.

The history of International Women’s Day dates back to 1908 when women’s oppression and inequality were widespread, and women in many countries did not have the right to vote or hold public office.

On March 8, 1908, thousands of women took to the streets in New York City to demand better working conditions, better pay, and the right to vote.

The idea of an international women’s day was proposed in 1910 by a German woman named Clara Zetkin at the International Socialist Women’s Conference.

The first official International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.

Since then, it has become a global movement, celebrated by people of all genders in countries all over the world.

Every year, the day is marked by various events, marches, rallies, and talks that celebrate women’s achievements and highlight the ongoing struggles for gender equality.

The day also provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made towards gender equality and to renew the commitment to working towards a more just and equitable society for all.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 6 Min Read
6 Min Read
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