Congratulatory messages flood Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo of Nigeria for becaming the first Nigerian female pilot at Qatar Airways. According to reports, she is also the first Nigerian female pilot to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Adeola now joins the league of Kenya’s Captain Irene Koki, Ethiopia’s Captain Amsale Gulau and a few other African female Dreamliner pilots. Here are five other inaugural female pilots around the continent who etched their names into the history books:
Captain Irene Koki from Kenya
Captain Irene Koki made history after landing Kenya Airways’ fourth Dreamliner aircraft at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) Nairobi. She was the first African female captain to fly a plane of such calibre.
Kenya Airways appointed Koki captain of the Boeing 787 in April 2014, making her the first African female Dreamliner certified captain in the world. She has received several awards in the male dominated field. Koki’s father was also a pilot.
Captain Aluel James Bol of South Sudan
Captain Aluel James Bol first made history is 2011 when she graduated as the first female pilot in Sudan. Since then she has also made headlines as the first South Sudanese pilot at Delta Airlines, a leading global airline company.
Esther Mbabazi of Rwanda
Esther Mbabazi is the first female in Rwanda to be a pilot and get certified as a commercial airline pilot. She chose to become a pilot after her father was killed in a plane crash.
Patricia Mawuli of Ghana
Patricia Mawuli is the first Ghanaian female civilian pilot. She is also the first black African to obtain the Rotax Aircraft Engines certificate – certification to build and maintain rotax engines.
Chinyere Kalu of Nigeria
Captain Chinyere Kalu is the first Nigerian female commercial pilot and the first lady to fly an aircraft in Nigeria. Her career in aviation was inspired by her adventurous aunt who was the first woman I her hometown to travel abroad. Captain Kalu was appointed the Rector and Chief Executive of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) in 2011. NCAT is the largest aviation training institute in Africa.