Edmonton air traffic controller hopes to get New Brunswick women into the skies

Click to play video: 'Female air traffic controller recruits females in Saint John' Female air traffic controller recruits females in Saint John
WATCH ABOVE: An air traffic controller who grew up in Saint John is touring the country trying to encourage more women to get their wings. Global's Shelley Steeves reports – Mar 6, 2017

Women in New Brunswick are expressing excitement over an organization whose aim is to bring more women into the aviation industry.

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Kendra Kincade, who grew up in the province and is currently working as an air traffic controller at Edmonton International Airport, started Elevate Aviation – a non-profit organization touring the country to try and recruit more women into aviation-related professions.

The group made a stop in Riverview, N.B. at NAV Canada’s Air Traffic Control Centre on Monday and several women showed up to learn more and take a tour of the centre.

“When I came I honestly fell in love,” said Sidney Thibeau, who attended Monday’s session. “I think I actually want to do this.”

Kincade said she started the group to raise interest in the field because she said she doesn’t think that “women don’t want to do it.”

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“They just, a lot of time, they don’t think about it. They are not necessarily drawn to aviation, like maybe guys are,” Kincade told Global News.

“We want to try to get the gender gap a little bit closer.”

According to NAV Canada staffing statistics, only about 16 per cent of all air traffic controllers are women, pilots sit at six per cent, while the number of women who are aircraft mechanics is only one per cent.

READ MORE: ‘Girls fly too’ event hopes to increase female interest in aviation

“It’s not necessarily that aviation needs women so-to-speak, but the fact that aviation needs more people,” she said.

Kincade said recruiting more women may help fill the shortage of air traffic controllers that Nav Canada is experiencing across the country.

Sophia Wells, a pilot and flight instructor, said she’d love to see more women join the industry.

“Some people think the only jobs out there are as pilots for airlines and that is just not the case,” Wells said. “There are a lot of different pilot jobs out there.”

Thibeau said seeing more women in the field is empowering.

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“I just love, like, female power, getting empowered, so I think it’s really cool: a girl in a male-dominated job.”

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