Qantas Group pilots will FlyPink from 1 October, swapping out their normal gold epaulettes (shoulder stripes) for pink epaulettes, to show their support during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Australian-first initiative was started by QantasLink Captain Susan McHaffie whose aunt was diagnosed and beat breast cancer. Joining the airline in 2013, Susan was inspired by the National Breast Cancer Foundation-branded pink QantasLink aircraft to find a way to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research that would encourage airlines around the world to join together for the cause.
QantasLink Captain Susan McHaffie said she hoped her small idea would encourage other airlines to show their support.
“Together with Qantas, it is my goal to raise $20,000 for breast cancer research. I hope by next year I’ll walk past a pilot I don’t know in an international airport wearing pink epaulettes in support of breast cancer research,” said Captain McHaffie.
QantasLink Chief Pilot, Captain Nathan Miller said Qantas was proud to get behind all its pilots and the FlyPink initiative, which will see pilots donate money to don the pink epaulettes when they sign on for flying duty.
“Qantas is really proud to show our support for breast cancer awareness, and most importantly help raise vital funds for research,” said Captain Miller.
“As a global carrier, we hope we can help our pilots take the FlyPink initiative from Australia to the world and are challenging other airlines to join us.”
National Breast Cancer Foundation Chair, Elaine Henry, welcomed the initiative and said the proceeds from the Qantas FlyPink campaign would go directly to life-changing breast cancer research projects around Australia.
“Every day in 2015, 42 women in Australia are diagnosed with breast cancer, and it is still the biggest cause of cancer-related death in women globally. We believe that research is the key to eradicating the disease, and credit research with the many advances that have been made in breast cancer care and treatment over the past few decades,” she said.
Pink epaulettes will be available to all 3,300 Qantas Group pilots who are encouraged to donate $5 and wear pink with pride in October.
Qantas Group pilots will use the month of October to raise money through a number of other activities including National Breast Cancer Foundation collection tins in crew rooms and Qantas airports, and hold Pink Ribbon Breakfasts around the country.
QantasLink will serve food items in FlyPink branded boxes and brownies in support of the campaign.
Customers and other Qantas employees can support FlyPink by donating to www.flypink.net #WeFlyPink #showyoursupport
Qantas Group pilots who will wear pink epaulettes include Qantas, QantasLink, Jetstar, JetConnect, Cobham, Network Aviation and Express Freighters Australia.