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Women Supporting Women to Chart the Course for Recovery

  • 08 Mar 2021

Regardless of gender, 2020 threw all of our professional worlds into disarray as COVID-19 ravaged our industry. Amongst the numerous difficulties we continue to face, the pace and trajectory back to business-as-usual is not easy to predict. The last 12 months have caused uncertainty and anxiety in ways which many of us have never experienced on a personal and professional level, changing the industry landscape almost overnight. When COVID first hit, it was a race to keep up with the sheer pace of the change. Being agile and comfortable with uncertainty are now ‘must have’ skills.   


Mrs. Emma Boulby, Executive General Manager, Airport Operations, Adelaide Airport 

Playing to our strengths 


Maybe, women can contribute to the recovery, by doing what most of us are good at: talking openly, listening and not being afraid to tackle the difficult issues. Adelaide Airport Ltd has always placed a big focus on the health and wellbeing of our team. Looking after our mental health has become even more important recently. Our business recovery, although determined by external factors, will be successfully delivered through continued focus on our people and by doing all we can to restore a sense of stability. The boundaries between personal and professional challenges have become blurred; the need for effective team and individual communication to navigate the crisis and its impacts on all levels has never been more important. 


Women supporting women  


Building emotional as well as business resilience is a focus for me with my team as we plan for recovery. As women, we should use our networks to share the challenges we face, provide each other with the encouragement and build our own personal courage as leaders moving forward. I will remember 2020 for the difficult decisions, tough conversations, and sheer speed of change. It will have shaped all of us in some way.   


There’s no book on the shelf which provides the answer on how best to navigate the recovery. I’m now more comfortable knowing that it is ok to be unsure and consider options and seek counsel before acting. We can support each other by using our collective knowledge, emotional intelligence and people skills to chart the best course.

Adelaide Airport

Adelaide Airport

Adelaide Airport

Adelaide Airport


Strides in gender equality

Personally, it’s great to see increased female participation in operational areas which have traditionally been more male oriented. Two of our ten strong team of Airport Operations Officers, who manage all airfield safety and security compliance, are female. This role did not previously attract female candidates, nevertheless, both our female AOOs enjoy their roles immensely and are equally respected within the team for the skills and attributes they bring. In addition to the Airside Operations team, I also oversee Safety & Security and Facilities & Maintenance. Overall, 25% of my team is female.  39% of Adelaide Airport Ltd’s employees are female, holding a wide variety of roles across our business, from front line airside and terminal operations, to project delivery, property management through to senior leadership and executive roles.   


I see the numbers of women in other technical disciplines growing more broadly too.  The ACI Regional Airport Security Committee for which I’m Vice Chair, has a number of female members from across Asia Pacific. All of my experience points to gender equality having made huge strides since I started my time in the industry as a Heathrow Graduate Trainee in the 1990s. In these testing times for our industry, it’s even more important that we continue to support each other to ensure women are afforded equal opportunities in every avenue of aviation. 

An accomplished airport management specialist with wide-ranging experience in airport management, Mrs. Emma Boulby started her aviation career as a Graduate Trainee at London Heathrow Airport. She held a number of senior management positions at London Heathrow and Gatwick Airports and its holding company BAA plc, based in UK. In 2011 she moved to G4S, to lead its aviation security contracts for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic in London.  Emma joined Adelaide Airport in 2013. Today, she is the Executive General Manager of Airport Operations.  


Mrs. Boulby is the Vice Chair of the ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Airport Security Committee and a member of the ACI World Security Standing Committee.  


Emma BoulbyAdelaide Airport
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