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Women in Aviation: Lufthansa Celebrates 'Two Women Take Off'

Today, Lufthansa is celebrating a very special anniversary in August: “Two women take off” as the airline announced in a press release 30 years ago.

On August 23, 1988, Nicola Lisy and Evi Hetzmannseder became Lufthansa’s first female co-pilots. They completed their pilot training at the commercial pilot school in Bremen together with 14 male cockpit contenders.

The training program was supplemented with flight hours over the desert near Phoenix, Arizona. After two years of preparation, Lisy and Hetzmannseder successfully completed their flight training on a Boeing 737 in the second week of August 1988, in the Canadian city of Montreal.

As is customary, they then flew with check pilots on the European routes of the airline as second officers for a few months before becoming first officers on the Boeing 737-200.

About 10 years later, Nicola Lisy made aviation history again when she became Lufthansa’s first female captain on January 31, 2000. Her 'co-pioneer' Hetzmannseder joined her soon as she became captain in February 2000.

Women in the cockpit haven’t been a sensation for a while now. However, it cannot be denied that women are still a special occurrence in the traditionally male aviation professions.

Elke Hieber began her pilot training at Lufthansa in 1988. Today, she captains the Airbus A380

Over 10,000 pilots work in the cockpits of the Lufthansa Group airlines, with over 4,000 of them flying for Lufthansa. About 6% of the Lufthansa Group cockpit personnel are female. For the Lufthansa core brand, that number is 7%.

Lufthansa Group is expanding its ambitious goal of increasing the proportion of women in management positions on the ground to the air: Having more women in the cockpit is one of the company’s central HR goals.

Women have a long tradition in the history of flying. On March 8, 1910, Raymonde de Laroche became the first woman in the world to receive her pilot license from the Aéro-Club de France.

In the 1930s, Marga von Etzdorf operated a Junkers A50 named “Kiek in die Welt”, having already flown Junkers F13 commercial airliners for the former Luft Hansa as a co-pilot in 1927.

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