Malawi Airlines makes history with an all-female operated flight
March in Malawi was a significant time for women. In a month that traditionally celebrates the International Women’s Day (IWD), glass ceilings were being shattered.
Malawi Airlines made history with an all-female operated and supported flight. The company celebrated IWD in style and boldness as an all-women crew took to the skies in a Bombardier Q400 flown from Blantyre in Malawi to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, with a stopover at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Malawi.
Co-pilots, Captain Yolanda Ndala Kaunda and First Officer Lusekelo Mwenifumbo, were given red-carpet treatment on their arrival in KIA where they were greeted by Malawi’s First Lady Gertrude Mutharika, and Mary Chilima, wife of Malawian Vice President Saulos Chilima. The all-female flight and attendant team were welcomed with gifts and words of encouragement at a special reception given in recognition of the flight representing Malawi as a symbol of women’s empowerment.
Malawi Airlines’ Public Relations Officer Joseph Josiah said history had been made.
“Yes, the event on March 16th was the first of its kind by Malawi Airlines. It was the first time a flight was operated by an all-women team,” said Josiah. He said the company does not have a stand-alone policy on gender, but that gender is streamlined within its policies in recruitment, management and workplace.
“We are an equal opportunity company, as such we strive to achieve gender inclusiveness at all levels of our operations,” he said.
Mwenifumbo said her teacher instilled confidence in female students by teaching them that they could enter and thrive in male-dominated fields. Inspiration was given to engage in what were largely regarded as male-only territories if they remained committed and dedicated.
However, Mwenifumbo said her father was the one who introduced her to the idea of having a career in aviation.
“My father always wanted me to be a pilot. When he asked me whether I wanted to try to fly a plane, I was surprised. I then curiously started reading aerodynamics just to make sure that those little planes I saw on many websites that had flight school names on their pathetic looking rudders were not going to make my life tough when I enrolled for training one day,” she added.