Johan Lundgren has just landed the job of airline CEO and he's already attracting the world's attention — in the best kind of way.

In stark contrast to Qantas boss Alan Joyce, whose pay packet nearly doubled to A$25 million ($27.5m) last year, Lundgren requested a pay cut when taking the reigns at British airline EasyJet.

So why would a high-flying executive make such a strange request?

He wants to fight the gender pay gap, and to prove he's a man of his word he's reducing his salary from £740,000 ($1.4m) to match that of his predecessor Carolyn McCall.


McCall had been credited with transforming the airline and was making £706,000 when she left the carrier last November after eight years in the job, so that's a cut of nearly five per cent and A$60,000.

"To show my personal commitment I have asked the board to reduce my pay to match that of Carolyn's when she was at EasyJet," Lundgren said.

"I also want to affirm my own commitment to address the gender imbalance in our pilot community which drives our overall gender pay gap."

The gender pay gap is a big problem at the airline, due largely to women having more low-paying jobs such as flight attendants. In fact, 94 per cent of EasyJet's pilots are men.

Lundgren also announced he will recruit more female pilots, with the aim of hitting 20 per cent by 2020.

"I want us not just to hit our target that 20 per cent of our new pilots should be female by 2020, but to go further than this in the future," Lundgren said.

The move has many cheering on social media.

While the gender pay gap remains an issue in Australia, figures released last November show the overall general pay gap in is continuing to narrow, with women now earning on average A$26,527 a year less than men — a gap of 22.4 per cent which is down from 23.1 per cent the previous year.


Meanwhile at Qantas, while not personally sacrificing pay, Joyce signed an agreement last September to ensure equal pay for equal work.