IATA 2024 Diversity & Inclusion Award Winners


Dubai - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the winners of the 2024 edition of IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards:

Inspirational Role Model: Kendra Kincade, CEO and Founder, Elevate Foundation

High Flyer: Mafunase Ngosa Malenga, Founder and Managing Director, Southern Africa Institute of Aviation Science and Technology

Diversity & Inclusion Team: British Airways

The judging panel also awarded a special commendation in the High Flyer category to Hana Al Awahdi, Senior Vice President, Human Resources Business Partner for dnata.

"The winners are true beacons of the change that is happening as diversity and inclusion entrenches itself as a strategic priority for the aviation industry. Their contributions to righting the gender balance in aviation are truly inspirational and deserving of today's recognition," said Yvonne Manzi Makolo, CEO of RwandAir and Chair of the IATA Board of Governors (2023-2024), who presented the awards.

"The quality of nominations gets more compelling every year as the results of aviation's focus on diversity and inclusion become even more concrete. Real and important change has been affected by all the winners and our special commendation. By drawing attention to their impressive achievements, we hope to amplify that change even further," said Karen Walker, Editor-in-Chief, Air Transport World and Chair of the judging panel.

"I congratulate the winners and all who were nominated. Ensuring that aviation is a great career choice for all genders is critical because it helps our businesses individually. It makes the industry stronger, and it is what our customers expect. All those nominated, and particularly the winners, have moved aviation in the right direction," said Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General.

The IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards are sponsored by Qatar Airways. Thanks to their generosity, each winner receives a prize of $25,000, payable to themselves or their nominated charities.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer, Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, said: "Qatar Airways is proud to once again sponsor the IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards, shining the light on the incredible leaders that bring about positive change in the aviation industry. We congratulate this year's winners on their remarkable achievements."

The 2024 IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards were presented during the World Air Transport Summit (WATS), which followed the 80th IATA Annual General Meeting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Winner Profiles

Inspirational Role Model: Kendra Kincade, CEO and Founder, Elevate Foundation

Kincade is the Founder and CEO of Elevate Aviation. Under Kincade's leadership, Elevate Foundation developed a number of programs to help advance gender balance in the industry including the Canadian Cross-Country Tour, a mentorship program, and the Elevate Aviation Learning Center - a kindergarten to career approach to aviation awareness and training with many programs including a weeklong immersive 'Aviation Career Exploration' experience for youth aged 11-18, as well as a free nine-week program for women to gain essential skills and knowledge needed to enter aviation careers. Kincade is also the Director of the documentary "Only Up" which inspires the next generation of aviation professionals and celebrates the achievements of women in aviation.

High Flyer: Mafunase Ngosa Malenga, Founder and Managing Director, Southern Africa Institute of Aviation Science and Technology

Malenga is the founder of the Southern Africa Institute of Aviation Science and Technology which now has over 800 graduates, 80% of whom are women. This remarkable achievement reflects her unwavering commitment to providing opportunities for women in aviation. Many of these graduates are now employed in various roles within airlines, airports, cargo companies, and travel agencies, contributing to the growth and diversity of the industry across the continent.

Malenga's impact extends beyond the classroom. She actively encourages young women to pursue their dreams in aviation. By breaking down gender barriers and challenging stereotypes, Malenga is paving the way for a more diverse and inclusive aviation sector in Africa.

Diversity & Inclusion Team: British Airways

The British Airways team launched "Inclusion starts with I" in September 2023, as a new Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) campaign, focusing on the power of individuals to drive inclusion through their day-to-day actions and behaviors.

The campaign has already proven successful and is one of a number of initiatives being worked on to support the airline's strategy of driving positive action, to ensure that it is both an inclusive and diverse organization, reflective of the world we live in.

Part of the airline's work is focused on increasing ethnic and gender representation across the business. British Airways reached its 2025 target of having 40% female representation in leadership roles a year early and continues to make strides towards its 2030 targets.

The airline has also completed inclusive leadership training for all its directors, and its new WINGS Gender Equality network is a strong advocate for gender balance – working closely with directorates across British Airways to implement action plans to foster an inclusive and collaborative culture.

Special Commendation for High Flyer: Hana Al Awahdi, Senior Vice President, Human Resources Business Partner, dnata

dnata was the first ground service provider to sign up to IATA's 25by2025 initiative and under Al Awahdi's leadership it achieved 29% representation of women in leadership roles in dnata's UAE operations in 2023. This reflects Al Awahdi's focus on increasing the number of women in leadership roles in addition to the recruitment of people with disabilities.

Under Al Awahdi's leadership dnata rolled out 'breaking the bias' training to over 400 senior dnata managers in the UAE, along with mentorship programs, career signposting, a global celebration of workplace achievements under the banner #IAmRemarkable, and an innovative "maternity coaching" program using qualified internal coaches to support mothers before, during and after maternity leave.

The Judging Panel

The judging panel was chaired by Karen Walker, Editor-in-Chief of Air Transport World along with the winners of the 2023 edition:

  • Poppy Khoza, Director of Civil Aviation, South African Civil Aviation Authority;
  • Camila Turrieta, Chair of the Diversity, Equity, Belonging, and Inclusion Committee, Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), and First Officer, JetBlue Airways;
  • Donna Codrington-Moloney, Head of People Relations, People Policy, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Virgin Atlantic Airways.
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