WOMEN WITH WINGS IN AFRICA
African airlines are taking to the sky with women at the helm
On November an Ethiopian Airlines ight rom Addis Ababa to Bangkok in Thailand became the airline’s rst ight operated by an all emale crew. Captain Amsale Gualu, the rst female captain in the airline’s history, was assisted by co-pilot Selam Tesfaye and the cabin was run by an allfemale crew. ‘Here in Africa, we are lagging behind in women empowerment,’ Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said in a statement. ‘This is going to inspire all the schoolgirls in Africa that they have a very bright future.’
Ethiopian Airlines is not the only carrier to push or the empowerment o its emale sta . Also in November last year, Air Zimbabwe took off with an all-female ight-deck crew on board a Boeing from Harare to ictoria Falls. Captain Chipo Matimba and captain Eli abeth Simbi Petros were the rst allfemale ight team in the airline’s history. SAA had its rst all-female ight in 2001, when captain ane Trembath ew a Boeing -200 from ohannesburg to Port Eli abeth with rst of cer Merel van der Merwe. More than o commercial pilots are male – with the International Society of omen Airline Pilots reporting only 4 000 female commercial pilots compared with 1 0 000 males worldwide.
the airline said, was an opportunity to promote women’s empowerment and to encourage more women to pursue aviation careers. Amsale agrees: ‘This is a good opportunity to create awareness. This shows that everything can be done by women.’
Captain Chipo Matimba and captain Elizabeth Simbi Petros of Air Zimbabwe