Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather was named as the 2016 recipient of the Aviation/Aerospace Australia chairman’s award at the industry body’s national awards night on Thursday.
The awards, handed out at a dinner in Melbourne, also recognised Jetstar for its diversity program, Moorabbin Flying Services for its leadership in training and representatives of Boeing Aerostructures Australia.
It was a night of double celebration for Mather, who was also presented with the Women’s Achievement in Infrastructure Award by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) at that organisation’s National Infrastructure Awards presentation in Sydney on Thursday night.
Aviation/Aerospace Australia chief executive Ken McLean said the chairman’s award recognised Mather’s leadership of Australia’s busiest airport by passenger numbers.
“Kerrie has played a key role in growing tourism, adapting to changes in the dynamic aviation industry and improving the customer experience at Sydney Airport,” McLean said in a statement.
Mather said she felt privileged to receive the two awards.
“Working in the infrastructure and aviation sector for the past 20 years has been both inspiring and challenging,” Mather said.
“Embracing customer expectations and needs, evolving with technological change, planning and delivering the infrastructure to support aviation growth in Australia, and the unending talent, creativity and enthusiasm of the people I work with has made each day a pleasure.
“I’d also like to acknowledge the fantastic advocacy work of my colleagues at both IPA and A/AA, which benefits the industry as a whole.”
IPA chief executive Brendan Lyon noted Mather was the most senior female chief executive in Australia’s top 50 listed companies.
Jetstar, meanwhile, was recognised for its approach to encouraging diversity in all parts of its operations.
“Progressive airlines around the world abandoned the position of having women in the cabin, men in the cockpit,” McLean said.
“Incentives and quotas have helped reverse this situation. The challenge now is to ensure women are well represented in the technical aspects of aviation, such as maintenance, dispatch and piloting.
“In this area Jetstar has excelled.”
Aviation/Aerospace Australia noted Jetstar had established a Diversity Council, targeted having a 50/50 split of male and female people reach the interview stage of a job application, and required job selection panels to have both male and female representatives.
Jetstar group chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said the Qantas-owned low-cost carrier had made a big effort to promote diversity.
“Striving for better gender diversity in our pilot and engineering ranks is really a no brainer for us,” Hrdlicka said in a statement.
“I’ve never understood why an airline would overlook half the population when searching for the very best talent to fly, service and maintain their aircraft.
“Every year we fly tens of millions of passengers from different walks of life across our vast Asia Pacific network and our workforce needs to reflect this diversity if we’re to continue winning the right to our customers’ business. That’s why we’ve been working so hard to create an environment that respects difference and works to bring out the best of everyone in our team.”
In addition to having a female chief executive, Jetstar’s chief pilot is also female, with Captain Georgina Sutton taking the job in February 2015.
Thomas Global received the Excellence In Innovation award for its work on upgrades to existing electronic flight information systems from cathode ray tube technology to “plug and play” LCD displays.
Its work is currently being rolled out on Regional Express’ (Rex) Saab 340 fleet, which is being fitted with the LCD TFD-8601 avionics display unit as a replacement for the current Rockwell Collins EFD-86 CRT display.
The unit received its supplemental type certificate for the Saab 340 in April 2015.
Thomas Global chief executive Angus Hutchinson said the implementation of the TFD-8601 been developed in partnership with Rex.
“Thomas Global’s engineers developed a product that completely satisfied Rex’s requirements, working closely with the airline’s engineers to ensure that the solution was workable and practical,” Hutchinson said in a statement.
“The TFD-8601 was first flown in the Saab 340 fleet of Rex on 11 August 2015.
“We are delighted to receive the Excellence in Innovation award, which highlights the real depth of innovation within the Australian aerospace sector.”
Full list of winners:
Chairman’s Award – Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather
Distinguished Leadership Award – Boeing Aerostructures Australia general manager, business operation Jo Staines
Excellence in Innovation Award – Thomas Global Systems – Thomas Adaptive Display Architecture
Outstanding Leadership in Training Award – Moorabbin Flying Services
Outstanding Strategy for Diversity – Jetstar Group
Outstanding Contribution to the Aviation or Aerospace sectors – Boeing Defence Australia Chief of Staff, C3I Solutions Caitlin Stephenson
Outstanding Next Generation Professional – RMIT University senior lecturer Dr Reece Clothier