Africa’s largest airline group, Ethiopian Airlines has received commendation from Nigerian Aviation stakeholders for flying the first all women operated flight in Africa to Murtala Muhammed International airport.
The plane which landed the Lagos airport with 391 passengers, 11 crew and 2 pilots was received with water showers and resounding cheers from stakeholders in the industry who had come to witness the historic event, the first of its kind in Africa.
Speaking at the reception of the plane in Lagos, Chairman House Committee on Aviation, Hon Nkieruka Onyejeocha lauded the carrier and the crew of the flight for choosing Nigeria as the first country in the continent to experience it, describing it as ground breaking.
Onyejeocha said the all women operated flight to Nigeria further demonstrates that women are capable of achieving any feat if the opportunity and the right environment provided.
She stated women were challenging the dominance of men in the industry and called on women in the country to encourage their daughters to go into the field.
” Women are moving forward, we are breaking grounds. We are not back benchers, today we have pilots, cabin crew, engineers all female. It is an experience and it’s a great thing happening.”
Responding to reporters Captain Amsale Gualu sad,” my first African flight was historic and it was good. This is not my first international flight but it’s my first all women flight. And I am privileged to be part of this flight. I did not feel uncomfortable, not at all, that was a day to day experience.”
”It is my childhood dream, I have always wanted to be a pilot since I was a child when my father took me to the airport then when I was in high school I used to be impressed by the uniform and after graduating Addis Ababa university I joined Ethiopia Airlines as a first officer and flew Focker 50 and Boeing 767 and in 2010 I became a captain on Dash Q400 and from there a captain on 767 now I also fly 777 and 787.”
Earlier in Addis Ababa, before the commence of the flight, Ethiopian Airlines Managing Director International Operations, Esayas WoldeMariam Hailu said not only was the all women flight symbolic but is meant to imbue more confidence in the female folk showing that they can do very well when given the opportunity, adding that airline is changing the stereotype held by people about the female gender.
He said, “You know all of us in Africa our mothers, our sisters our wives but in our culture in Africa there has always been a long history of having them and at the same time looking down on them but we want to dispel that stereotype and show everyone that women can handle anything and everything including a high-tech machine like a new Boeing or Airbus to fly it, crew it, engineer it and to operate it so we just want to show that because, I was hearing some people say of Adam and Eve that Adam must be a white man because if he were African, he wouldn’t listen to her(laugh..). ”
“So our sisters can do better and we just want to show to our brothers in the continent that our sisters can do it. It also directly or indirectly shows of a public relations angle and even people on a gender cause will appreciate what we are doing. So that’s it, it’s an added advantage and we just wanted to show it. Even our mother Africa we call her a she and it is more affectionate.”
Also, passengers on board the flight were excited and full of praise for the pilot and the crew members for the making the historic flight to Lagos.
Also, speaking Ethiopian Airlines Area Manager, Nigeria, Firiehiwot Mekonnen said: “I am most honoured to Welcome you all to the Epoch making event happening for the first time in Africa.
“ I am most privileged to be a Woman, the first Female General Manager of Ethiopian Airlines in Nigeria and also to be the one receiving this very important flight to Lagos.
“ Ethiopian Airlines has decided to always reward the Nigerian traveller for the Loyalty they have shown to the Airline. This is the reason that we are bringing the first All women Operated Flight in Africa to Lagos Nigeria. The Flight today by Capt Amsale Gualu had 391 passengers 363 Economy and 28 business Class on a B777- 300. Every aspect of the Flight was handled by a Woman.
“ Nigeria is not just our great partner but also a country that has shown Africa what Women can do. Women can achieve a lot and Nigeria is a leading light in Women Empowerment in Africa. One of first Women Pilots in Africa is a Nigerian.
“Today Ethiopian Airlines Africa’s first 4 star Airline is proud to be the first to Operate an all Women Operated flight to Nigeria. We are all witnesses to history today.
“We wish to thank our Nigerian passengers and Government for the growth of Ethiopian Airlines in Nigeria.”