• The two global aviation companies continue to foster the next generation of women in aviation 

  • Eight women awarded Judy Cameron scholarships as program celebrates fifth anniversary

Today on International Women’s Day, Air Canada and CAE are proud to announce the eight winners of the 2024 Captain Judy Cameron Scholarships. The two Montreal-based global aviation companies have again joined forces, to award scholarships to eight women from across Canada who are pursuing careers as commercial pilots or aircraft maintenance engineers. The four CAE recipients training to become commercial pilots will become CAE Women in Flight program ambassadors and play a key role in encouraging more women to pursue careers in aviation.

The Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship, now in its fifth year, was established in honour of Air Canada’s first female pilot. Scholarships are awarded annually by Air Canada and CAE in conjunction with the Northern Lights Aero Foundation, to foster the next generation of women in aviation.

“Air Canada takes great pride in its leadership role in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the aviation industry. Women are well represented across all levels and branches of our airline,” said Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Public Affairs at Air Canada. “The Judy Cameron Scholarship actively works to support and empower the next generation of women pursuing non-traditional aviation STEM careers. Congratulations to this year’s winners.”

“CAE is proud to be a leader in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in aviation. Initiatives like CAE’s Women in Flight Program and the Captain Judy Cameron Scholarships are critical to attracting and supporting more women in making their dream of a career in aviation a reality,” said Marie-Christine Cloutier, CAE’s Vice President, Civil Aviation Performance, Strategy and Marketing. “CAE’s Aviation Talent Forecast anticipates a global need for more than 1.3 million new aviation professionals by 2032, and attracting underrepresented groups, like women, will help keep the industry aloft and allow it to thrive.”

"I'm incredibly excited that the Northern Lights Aero Foundation received a record number of applications for the Captain Judy Cameron scholarships this year. Kudos to Air Canada for initiating and building momentum for the program over the past five years, and to CAE for joining the effort in 2022 to encourage more women in their aviation careers," said Judy Cameron, Boeing 777 Captain at Air Canada (retired) and Director of the Northern Lights Aero Foundation. "Past recipients have become flight instructors, maintenance engineers, and commercial pilots across Canada. This year's recipients will inspire and support other women in their aviation journeys. Congratulations to the eight recipients and to Air Canada and CAE for generously funding the scholarships."

Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship Awards

Air Canada award recipients:

  • Harnoor Bagarhy - Brampton, Ontario
  • Harman Bagarhy - Brampton, Ontario 
  • Emily Contos - Winnipeg, Manitoba 
  • Chanelle Wilson - Coldstream, British Columbia

CAE Women in Flight Ambassadors:

  • Ashley Gellatly - Cargill, Ontario
  • Nyssa Hansen - Delta, British Columbia
  • Chloe Muhl - Grimsby, Ontario
  • Trisha Virdee - Innisfil, Ontario 

About Captain Judy Cameron

Judy Cameron became the first female pilot hired by Air Canada, Canada's largest airline, in April 1978 at the age of 23. She was the first woman to graduate from Selkirk College's Aviation Technology Program in 1975. Throughout her flying career of 40 years and over 23,000 hours, she has flown the DC-3, Twin Otter, Hawker Siddeley 748, DC-9, Lockheed 1011, Airbus 320, Boeing 767, and Boeing 777 to the far corners of the world. She became a captain in 1997 and in 2010, she became the first female captain in Canada of a Boeing 777, the largest aircraft in Air Canada's fleet. She retired in 2015, received the Elsie MacGill Northern Lights award in the Flight Operations category that year, and in 2016 she was chosen by the 99s (International Organization of Women Pilots) to be on its Canadian postage stamp.

In 2019, Air Canada committed to awarding $20,000 per year for three years toward the Captain Judy Cameron scholarship, and in 2021 re-committed its support for an additional three years. Last year, CAE added its support to the scholarship through its Women in Flight ambassador program.

The Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship is open to women who are Canadian citizens and who are enrolled in a fixed wing aviation flight program at a college, university, or flight school, or an aircraft repair and maintenance program anywhere in Canada.

The Scholarship is administered by the Northern Lights Aero Foundation, which inspires and celebrates Canadian women in aviation and aerospace with mentorship, scholarships, a speaker's bureau, and junior board, along with an annual award event.

About the CAE Women in Flight Ambassador Program

The CAE Women in Flight Ambassador program is helping to create a movement that encourages young girls and women to dream big and have no limits. Because women make up a very small percentage of commercial pilots worldwide, this program shows women that they, too, can reach for the sky. CAE is partnering with airline customers globally to provide partially funded and fully funded pilot training scholarships to deserving women who also become program ambassadors who inform and inspire other women to become pilots.

The program was launched in 2018 and expanded in July 2022 to grow the movement by forging partnerships with more airline customers. Initially, the program was limited to candidates enrolled in one of CAE's airline-sponsored cadet training programs. However, with the program's evolution, CAE now matches existing airline scholarships. The program aims to build a community of ambassadors who demonstrate leadership skills, active community involvement, perseverance, and passion for aviation and can inspire women to join the pilot profession.

To learn more about the program, go to CAE Women in Flight Ambassador Program.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada's largest airline, the country's flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada provides scheduled service directly to more than 180 airports in Canada, the United States and Internationally on six continents. It holds a Four-Star ranking from Skytrax. Air Canada's Aeroplan program is Canada's premier travel loyalty program, where members can earn or redeem points on the world's largest airline partner network of 45 airlines, plus through an extensive range of merchandise, hotel and car rental partners. Through Air Canada Vacations, it offers more travel choices than any other Canadian tour operator to hundreds of destinations worldwide, with a wide selection of hotels, flights, cruises, day tours, and car rentals. Its freight division, Air Canada Cargo, provides air freight lift and connectivity to hundreds of destinations across six continents using Air Canada's passenger and freighter aircraft. Air Canada aims to achieve an ambitious net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050. Air Canada shares are publicly traded on the TSX in Canada and the OTCQX in the US.

Contact: [email protected]

Internet: aircanada.com/media

About CAE

At CAE, we equip people in critical roles with the expertise and solutions to create a safer world. As a technology company, we digitalize the physical world, deploying software-based simulation training and critical operations support solutions. Above all else, we empower pilots, cabin crew, airlines, and defence and security forces to perform at their best every day and when the stakes are the highest. Around the globe, we’re everywhere customers need us to be with more than 13,000 employees in approximately 250 sites and training locations in over 40 countries. CAE represents more than 75 years of industry firsts—the highest-fidelity flight and mission simulators as well as training programs powered by digital technologies. We embed sustainability in everything we do. Today and tomorrow, we’ll make sure our customers are ready for the moments that matter.

Read our FY23 Global Annual Activity and Sustainability Report.

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