..women are moving forward and breaking grounds……Onyejeocha
…we are happy and proud to be the handler…..NAHCO boss
….it is a wonderful experience being a pilot….Gualu
The much awaited Ethiopian airline first All Female crew flight finally landed today in Lagos, Nigeria at exactly 1.15pm amid cheers and applause from passengers, friends of the airline, executives of aviation agencies, grand handling companies, the media and other airport users.
The historic event was marked with lots of pomp and ceremony and outpour of commendations for the airline from dignitaries that witnessed the Boeing 777-300 extended range touch down at the Murtala Mohammed International, Lagos from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The aircraft flown by Captain Endeganew Amsale Gualu had 391 passengers to Lagos with 28 Business Class passengers, 363 Economy passengers 11crew and 2 pilots on landing was given the ceremonial bathing by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) fire department at the MMIA.
The female crew where welcome to the country by the Chairman House Committee on Aviation, Mrs. Nkieruka Onyejeocha, Managing Director, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company, NAHCO aviance, Mr. Idris Yakubu.
In a brief speech, Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Mrs. Nkieruka Onyejeocha said women were breaking grounds in many areas where men had sway, describing the crew of the flight as ground breakers who are changing the narrative for women.
Onyejeocha called on mothers to encourage their children especially the females to take up courses in the sciences and in the aviation sector.
She stated, “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”.
The committee chair observed that Ethiopian airline had proved to be a great partner and true friend who in times of need would also stand by to assist citing the closure of the Abuja airport and relocation of flights to kaduna, Mrs. Onyejeocha said, it was only Ethiopian airline that was willing to fly to the kaduna airport when others refused.
In an interview Captain if the historic flight Amsale Gualu said she was happy to fly the ever first all female flight to Nigeria, though it was not her first,
“This is not my first international flight but it’s my first all female flight. And I am privileged to be part of this flight. I did not feel uncomfortable, not at all, this is a day to day experience”.
Explaining how it all started, Gualu said right from childhood, her dream was to be a pilot and was happy that her dream had come true.
According to her,” 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.”
Speaking on the flight, Managing Director, NAHCO aviance, Mr. Idris Yakubu said, ” NAHCO plc is very proud to be the handler for Ethiopian airline, we are very pleased to know and to be associated with Ethiopian airline to handle this flight and other flights, so, we are very pleased and happy about it”.
He added,” I want to thank the press for all your support and I just want to commit that NAHCO plc will continue to handle all our flights excellently and give quality customer service”.
Other crew members included, First officer, Mamo Tigist Kibret, Supervisor Wolde Maedot Dessie, Tolera Tadelu Emiru, Demissie Rediet Atnafu, Teklearegay Meseret Kassahun, Wako Rekik Yohnnes, Gebre Filagot Bekele, Ouma Sena Fufa, Wolde Elishaday Sahlu, Woldmariam Rinka Tsige,mGerbemichael Temesgen Berhane and Hailu Mekedelawit Akalewold.
Dignitaries present at the event were the Director, Consumer Protection, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Mallam Adamu Abdullahi, Director Operations, Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, Mr. Gabriel Akpen, presidents of Women in Aviation, Mrs. Rejoice Ndudinachi and Mrs.Ify Megwa, NCAA, FAAN, NAMA staff and others.