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Ethiopian Airlines operates first all women flight to Nigeria

Hon. Nkiruka Onyejeocha
By Adekunle Williams and Solomon Asowata
Ethiopian Airlines, on Saturday, operated its first all women flight to Nigeria.

The airline’s Boeing 777 aircraft, which took off from Addis Ababa, landed at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at 1.16p.m.

It was the first time Ethiopian Airlines was operating an all women flight in Africa as it had earlier done same to Bangkok, Thailand.

On the historic flight, all the roles from pilot to cabin crew to in-flight ramp operations and flight dispatchers on ground, were all women.

The pilot, Capt. Amsale Gualu, told newsmen in Lagos that the successful flight had shown that women could excel in any field if given equal opportunities.

She thanked the Federal Government for the opportunity given to the airline to operate the historic flight to the country.

Mrs Firiehiwot Mekonen, the General Manager, Ethiopian Airlines, Nigeria, said the aim of the flight was to promote women empowerment and encourage more African women to pursue aviation careers.

Mekonen said although one-third of the airline’s employees were women, the figure was smaller when it came to positions such as pilots and technicians.

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Mrs Nkiru Onyejeocha, lauded Ethiopian Airlines for the remarkable feat.

Onyejeocha said it was a big motivation for young women who were aspiring to become aviation professionals, stressing that it had shown that women could no longer be relegated to the background.

The lawmaker said Nigeria was currently lacking the calibre of female personnel to replicate such feat despite aviation being a key driver of the economy.

She added that “this is a call for us as a country to encourage our children to go into the sciences, especially in fields such as aviation.

“There should be scholarships available for those who want to study sciences, particularly for girls as a way of encouraging them.”

The flight was welcomed by Women in Aviation professionals and the Director of Consumer Protection, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Adamu Abdullahi.

Also on ground were the acting General Manager, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Mr Gabriel Akpeyi and the Managing Director of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company, Mr Idris Yakubu.

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