Women in Aviation Advocate Fiona Mackay Shares Opportunities and Challenges in Aviation Industry

Fiona McKay, founder and CEO of Leading Ladies Of… Aerospace, is a strong advocate for women in the aerospace industry. She founded her company to provide a platform for female leaders who are doing incredible things within their fields.

Women in Aviation Advocate Fiona Mackay
Women in Aviation Advocate, Fiona Mackay


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On the 16th of August, 2022, Fiona McKay receives her Aviation Achievement Award from AeroTime, an online news platform for the aviation industry. Mckay was part of AeroTime’s Women in Aviation Campaign. 

The certificate was signed by Richard Stephenson, OBE, Chairman and Editor in Chief of AeroTime. Mckay’s certificate cites: 

“in recognition of her dedication and commitment to the aviation sector; for her focus on promoting women in aviation, aerospace and defense; for her efforts to encourage and empower female leadership across the aviation industry through Leading Ladies Of Aerospace & Defense and inspiring the next generation. The AeroTime Global Executive Committee recognizes the positive influence of these efforts and the significance of their impact on the aviation industry and its people both today and into the future.” 


From Teacher to Rolls Royce Employee

McKay is one of the women of aviation with a long history in the aerospace manufacturing and non-profit worlds. But unlike most people who worked in the aviation industry, Fiona Mckay came from a different background. 

She did not grow up fascinated with planes and aircraft. In fact, she was a teacher for about nine years in Teach First program.

It is a two-year program that trains young people for careers in teaching. They took people from top universities and put them into some of the toughest schools in London. 

After an amazing flying moment, she changed her stance on her current career and decided to work in Rolls Royce. But there were more reasons behind Mckay’s decision, “I’m gonna be honest with you. It was my ego. I loved the fact that I’d be working for Rolls-Royce.”

Rolls-Royce is a large British multinational engineering company that provides a wide range of products and services, including aircraft engines. The company’s headquarters are located in London.


Diversity and Inclusion in Aviation Industry

After being one of the full-fledged women of aviation, McKay was not spared from the challenges. These are just one of the women in aviation facts every woman will face once they work in the aviation industry.

Mackay shares, “People don’t realize that whilst there are more women percentage-wise, it has actually hasn’t changed for 50 years. There are more women here because the industry’s grown, not because the percentage has grown, and there’s still a long way to go.”

“You know it can be tempting to paint a rosy picture. And unfortunately, a lot of women share their experiences with me, and there’s still an awful lot to be done. I think some of that honesty and getting to the depths of some of the things that need to be taken on. I think it could be massively helpful,” Mckay added.

Two solutions she presented are educating people about their conscious bias and creating a workplace environment that lets people thrive.

As Stephenson mentioned earlier in the interview, there are lots of people all around the world that are not encouraging your girls to aspire to a future career in the aviation industry. And these young girls are not sure whether they’ll fit in.

Mckay answered with a smile and discreet determination, “Take on the challenge. Yes, you are not to stand. And if you’re willing to show people that you are determined and tenacious enough to move forward regardless of the challenges we face, the right people will recognize you.”

She also continued to share that there will be people who support and champion your cause once you show tenacity. Grit and determination played a vital role in earning respect from good men.

Mckay added that the Aviation industry is a great field to be in. Now, she is on a mission to make sure that you know women in aviation realized just how worthy they were and were.


Fiona Mckay, Encouraging Young Women Towards Aviation Career
Fiona Mckay, Encouraging Young Women Towards Aviation Career

For the full interview, you may watch it HERE.


Knisley is a leading aircraft exhaust maintenance service with over 40 years of experience. Feel free to reach us at or call us at (800) 522-6990 (toll-free).