Malawian Airlines has booked a place in the aviation history books with the successful operation of its first all-women operated and supported flight on Thursday 16 March, 2017.
The airline's Bombardier Q-400 which flew from Blantyre to Dar es Salaam and back was commanded by Malawi’s first female captain, Yolanda Ndala-Kaunda assisted by FO Lusekelo Mwenifumbo with flight technician Saba Solomon certifying take offs.
Control Towers at Kamuzu International Airport where a reception was held before take off for Dar es Salaam were in able hands of three women: Patricia Mwafulirwa, Chikondi Chadza and Jelia Kalinda.
Josephine Chapuma and Isabel Kamanga took care of the cabin completing the set of the all-women crew. Security, Check-in and fire fighting personnel were all women.
“I have been flying for nine years. And in the nine years, I was the only woman in the flight bag, so for me I am really happy that there is someone else who can join me and [I’m] hoping that there will even more in the coming years,” said visibly elated Captain Ndala-Kaunda.
In recent years, African women have been taking center-stage in the aviation industry both as cockpit crew, cabin crew and engineering crew.
In 2014, Kenya Airways’ fourth Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner was flown from the Boeing assembly plant to Nairobi by an all-female crew with Captain Irene Koki Mutungi at the controls.
On 19 November, 2015, Ethiopian Airlines operated its first all-female-crew flight with a Boeing 767 service from Addis Ababa to Bangkok commanded by Captain Amsale Gualu.
Aerocontractors Airline of Nigeria, Air Zimbabwe and EgyptAir have all operated all-female-crew flights.