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Profile: International Women in Aviation Conference


Each year, thousands of men and women gather together with one single common bond: Aviation. The International Women in Aviation Conference is the brainchild of the nonprofit organization Women in Aviation, International. Women and men from all over the world attend to network, apply for jobs and learn about all things aviation.


The first annual International Women in Aviation Conference took place in 1990 in Prescott, AZ. It was led by Dr. Peggy Chabrian, the organization’s founder and current president, and had about 150 attendees.

The annual conference in 2012, which had about 3,300 attendees, was the organization’s 23rd conference.

Programs and Events:

The annual International Women in Aviation Conference offers participants a variety of things to experience.

  • Exhibit Hall: The exhibit hall is filled with companies and industry representatives. Many of the conference attendees are looking for jobs, and many of the companies are hiring, so a big role of the exhibit hall is hiring. Companies also attend to showcase their product or service, and attendees can get a feel for the industry by speaking to exhibitors and employees. It’s also a great place to meet people and network, and most attend in business attire or interview dress.

  • Education Sessions: Throughout the conference, education sessions keep attendees busy. From learning about the latest technologically advanced aircraft to leadership methods, these education sessions are a valuable tool for attendees.

  • Keynote Speakers: Keynote speakers for the conference have included airline CEOs, astronauts and entrepreneurs. The keynote speaker typically entertains the conference attendees during one of the group sessions or during lunch or dinner.

  • Seminars and Workshops: One of the enticing parts of the Women in Aviation Conference is the ability to obtain some professional training or additional qualifications while attending. Some examples of seminars and workshops in the past include FAA Maintenance Recurrent Training and Flight Instructor Refresher Courses (FIRC). These sometimes cost extra.

  • Silent Auction: Everyone loves a good silent auction. The silent auction acts as a fundraiser for the WAI Endowment Fund, which provides scholarships to women in the aviation career field.

  • Local Tours and Events: The International Women in Aviation Conference is held at a different location each year. Special tours are offered based on the aviation industry in which the city is held. Past conferences attendees have had the opportunity to tour airports, airline headquarters, corporate flight departments, aquariums, museums and other various local favorites.

  • Virtual Job Fair: A newer part of the conference includes an opportunity for members to participate in a virtual job fair, where companies can post available jobs online and applicants can submit resumes online before the conference. Then, the two parties can meet up at the conference to chat or for a formal interview if they wish to do so.

  • Daughter Day: Also a fairly new addition to the conference is the “Daughter Day,” which is open to boys as well. Daughter day allows girls age 10-17 to attend the conference and participate in fun events centered on aviation.

Scholarship Awards:

One of the most impressive parts of the conference (certainly the most inspirational to watch) is the handing out of scholarship awards to young men and women pursuing aviation careers. Women in Aviation, International has served as a means for women to obtain aviation scholarships for anything from a seaplane rating to a business school scholarship to a Boeing 737 Type Rating. These awards come from many different companies and organizations and they certainly help people of all ages to obtain their dreams.

Attendee Information:

The International Women in Aviation Conference typically runs in the spring for three days, from Thursday through Saturday.

There are many different ticket options for the conference depending on your membership status, when you purchase your ticket, and what ticket option you decide on. Below are 2013 conference rates:

  • Full early-bird registration (members/non-members): $340/$390
  • Military rate (members/non-members): $240/$290
  • Early-bird student rate (members/non-members): $175/$205
  • General registration for one day only: $180

Tickets not purchased in advance usually cost more.

Exhibitor Information:

For exhibitors, the conference is a great avenue for marketing, networking with other industry professionals and for finding qualified job candidates.

The cost for a booth also varies depending on how early you register, whether you are a corporate member of WAI, and how large of a space you request.

Exhibitors in 2013 paid between $1,370 and $2,470 for a 10’ x 10’ booth space, depending on when they registered and their WAI membership status. A 10’ x 30’ booth cost between $3,410 and $6,035.

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