Airport Show
13 - 15 May 2025

Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group

Rana Dajani Ph.D. delivering keynote address at Women In Aviation

Continuing the excellent work being done by ICAO, IATA and ACI so far, the Women in Aviation General Assembly, Dubai will highlight best practice to regional aviation HR leadership to bring about positive change.

On 1 May – day 3 of Airport Show, WIA will once again be the annual meeting place for international aviation leaders, female industry role models and hundreds of college and university students looking to join the industry.

There is four panel discussions taking place over the day.  Rana Dajani, an associate professor of biology and biotechnology at the Hashemite University in Jordan will be delivering the keynote address at 1:30pm.

An authority on the genetics of the Circassian and Chechen populations in Jordan, her research focuses on genome-wide association studies concerning diabetes and cancer and on stem cells.


Read more about the panel discussion below:

Panel Discussion 1: Preparing for the Future Aviation Gender Equality is Here to Stay

Women are vastly under-represented in the aviation and aerospace sectors and while change has been rapid in recent years, new education policies, regular training, well laid out career development programmes and decentralised decision-making can help women achieve even more in these high tech industries.

In our opening session, we will look at some of the most successful case studies from around the world where specific initiatives have helped women succeed in the aviation workplace and enabled organisations to meet their gender equality goals. Experts will share strategies that have worked and identify which stakeholders should be on board to ensure there is complete commitment to delivering results.

Key themes in this session will include:

  • The influence of social media in the changing workplace
  • The hundreds of skills that support the aviation industry
  • Why should non-aviation professionals consider aviation as a great career option
  • What are aviation leaders looking for in their new hires
  • Moderator: Suaad Al Shamsi, Senior Manager -Midfield Programme, Etihad Airways
  • Panellists:
  • Captain Feras Malallah
  • Captain Ahmed Bel Fakih
  • Lisa Holzmann, Deputy General Manager, MSI Air
  • BarbroBolander, HR Director, LFV Consulting


Panel Discussion 2: Building Female Aviation Leadership Creating the Right Environment for Women to Succeed

Although there is a huge opportunity for more female leaders in the aviation industry, the growth of women in leadership positions has been slow and does not meet the current demands of the market. The industry has shown overall that it is committed to improve this status -however, there is still a long way to go.

Specific coaching, mentorship and leadership training programmes have to be put in place, unconscious bias have to be removed and company stakeholders have to be committed to the initiative as well. In this session, we will look at the obstacles women have to overcome to reach to the top of their organisations and the role top management and HR play towards removing these.

The session also looks at work-life balance issues in the light of female leadership positions and the wider role the society, community and family must play.

Key themes in this session will include:

  • An introduction to flight dispatch, fuelling, catering, FBOsand the multiple other sectors that support the aviation industry
  • The benefits of an inclusive organisation
  • Securing stakeholder buy in for gender equality
  • The role of HR in building gender equality through training programmes that work
  • Moderator: Nadine Fanous, Associate Director Industry and Government relations, Boeing


  • Haifa Hamedaldean, Transformation and Project Manager, Saudi Air Navigation Services
  • Robert J. Gerritsen, General Manager, Air BP Mena
  • Lisa Marie Heaney , First Officer: Bell 412, Falcon Aviation Services
  • Airbus Speaker TBC


Panel Discussion 3: Women in Space Building Gender Equality in Your Workplace

Since 1961, women have been an integral part of space expeditions. From space travel and micro experiments on the ground to engineering modern space stations and algorithms on planetary missions, women have played an important role in making space exploration possible, albeit behind the scenes sometimes.

Females make up over 50% of STEM students in the Middle East and 77% of computer science students in the UAE, well above global averages. The greater hiring of women in the Middle East’s space and aerospace sectors will see benefits across businesses and communities as a highly qualified and talented pool of resources will help the region achieve its space ambitions.

Our expert panel will discuss successful programmes that can help you plan your gender equality strategy and provide a systematic guide on how to enhance gender equality in your workplace and ensure the buy-in of all your leading stakeholders.

Key themes in this session will include:

  • First hand insight into the region’s ambitious space programmes
  • Women taking the lead in the space sector –globally and locally
  • Creating greater opportunities for the region’s STEM graduates
  • The next step -How to apply?
  • Young female engineers/ aviation sharing their experience


Panel Discussion 4: Women in Aerospace. The Competitive Value of Gender Equality and Successful Youth Engagement Programmes

Historical evidence shows that organisations that promote gender equality see a positive impact on their bottom lines. While aerospace businesses globally have encountered challenges in implementing successful gender equality strategies, there are established ways to overcome these and create a competitive advantage for your firm.

In this session, we will discuss some of the key benefits of embracing gender equality and how it can position your firm ahead of your competitors. From greater market attractiveness to customers, employees, shareholders and the community to attracting better talent, being more innovative, creating a stronger brand value and delivering better financial results, the competitive value of gender equality has never been a more powerful tool.

The session will also host some of our most outstanding Generation Z delegates of last year, who will share what they are looking for in their future employers and how aerospace organisations can reach out to them.

Key themes in this session will include:

  • Creating a stronger brand value and greater market attractiveness
  • Attracting better talent and encouraging higher creativity and innovation
  • A look at future opportunities in the region’s aerospace sector
  • Generation Z –leading the change
  • Moderator:Zeina El Hakam, Communications Manager, Boeing


  • Strata
  • FilizHayirliTepebasi, Turkey Strategy Manager, Boeing
  • Sonja Strand, Vice President / General Manager –Global Airports, Honeywell
  • Patrick Natali, General Delegate Middle-East, Safran
  • Hamda Al Shehhi, UAE Space Agency


View the full programme and how to book your delegate pass for Women In Aviation (WIA) taking place in Dubai on 1 May 2019 here.

WIA is taking place alongside Airport Show on 29 April – 1 May 2019.

Register for FREE entry here and gain entry to Airport Show, ATC Forum and Airport Security Middle East exhibitions.