The excitement of flying and an opportunity to make a difference

05 Oct 2017 Women in Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion

By Susan MacLachlan – Pilot Manager & First Officer, Mt Cook Airline at Air New Zealand. 

I had been exposed to aviation through my family’s involvement. Flying excited me and appeared to be a great industry. I was seeking adventure and something that challenged me. When I went solo, it was all over – I was hooked and there was no looking back!

I’m currently a Pilot Manager and First Officer at Mount Cook Airline. 50% of the time I am out online flying domestic routes around NZ in an ATR turboprop aircraft, and the other 50% of the time my role is ground based in which I am involved in a range of project work.

I love the people and the flying. I enjoy having direct daily involvement with a diverse range of people. My role is varied, exciting and has provided lots of growth. Every day is unique. I feel very privileged when I go flying - to be able to explore my own back yard, the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand on a daily basis and share this with others.  

I was told “If you are lucky enough to make your passion a job you would never work another day in your life” and that sums up how I feel about what I do.  

Within Air New Zealand, amongst the whole fleet we approximately have 5% female pilots and globally the stats are similar. In January 2017, I started with the support of many others the Air New Zealand Women’s mentoring programme, aimed at providing support and encouragement for young women hoping to get into the industry. We started the programme with 25 young ladies from Walsh Memorial Flying School and Regional Airline mentors. I felt as a young female I valued my mentors and they were a big part of my personal journey. Starting the programme has allowed me to be creative and explore possibilities relating to gender diversity in our industry. I feel very passionate about working with our female pilot working group and am looking forward to being involved further and with time watching our numbers grow! 



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