Ethiopian Airlines makes history with an all-women flight crew

“Women are the continent’s (Africa) greatest untapped resources.” – Tewolde Gebremariam.

Yesterday, Ethiopian Airlines celebrated women by dispatching its first-ever flight operated by an all-female crew. From the flight deck, crew members to senior executives on-board, all women. The on-ground flight preparations were also conducted by females.

The flight departed for Bangkok, Thailand on Wednesday night, and upon arrival in Bangkok, the customs and immigration officers were female. This was done to celebrate women and promote African women empowerment.

It’s also to encourage more African women to pursue careers in aviation. “…Here in the continent of Africa, we are lagging behind in women empowerment. So this is going to inspire all the school girls in Africa that they have a very bright future in the 21st century,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, the CEO of Ethiopian airline.

Ethiopian Airlines pilots - Abdulbari Yusuf and Tariku Tsegaye. Credit - Ethiopian Airlines Facebook
Ethiopian Airlines pilots – Abdulbari Yusuf and Tariku Tsegaye.
Credit – Ethiopian Airlines Facebook

According to Ethiopian Airlines, about a third of its employees are women. But this number shrinks even more when it comes to the pilots and technicians. “It’s going to be very inspiring for all the women all over the world, aviation women and particularly the African woman …”

Haymanot Endale is a cabin maintenance technician who started working at Ethiopian Airlines at the age of 20. Having been there for two years, she said there are only a few female technicians. This, she believes is because women think that being a technician is difficult, but it according to her, it is quite easy.

The airline also launched a service targeted at new mothers. It created a nursing room, equipped with modern amenities like comfortable reclining chairs and refrigerators for the storage of breast milk. New mothers also get free electronic breast pumps.

Some members of the all-female flight crew Credit - Ethiopian Airlines Facebook
Some members of the all-female flight crew
Credit – Ethiopian Airlines Facebook

Gebremariam described the company as a gender responsive organisation that strives to pursue its underlying stance of being an equal opportunity employer. “It is a great honour for us to have competent women aviation professionals at Ethiopian in every aspect of the aviation field…We are very proud of their achievements and contributions and it is our sincere belief that this will continue with an enhanced magnitude and passion to sustain Ethiopian on its fast growth trajectory.”

Ethiopian Airlines is dedicated to increasing the number of women in decision making positions on top of key operational areas by consistently grooming and mentoring successor female employees for top managerial, technical and operational positions.

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