Stakeholders in the aviation industry have commended Air Peace on its first all-female crew flight with its first female captain, Sinmisola Ajibola, in command.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said the airline had joined the league of airlines that had operated flights with only women in charge of the cockpit, cabin, engineering and dispatch.
The minister, who was represented by the Director, Safety and Technical Policy, Ministry of Transportation, Capt. Talba Alkali, received the flight in Abuja and said the feat had shown the airline was gender friendly.
He said Air Peace’s all-female flight was the first time a Nigerian airline was deploying high capacity aircraft such as the Boeing 737 with only Nigerians in charge.
“Air Peace has made a tremendous impact on the industry and we as regulators and the ministry will continue to create an enabling environment for the airline and other domestic airlines to thrive. Today’s event is yet another testament of the safety of our airspace and we will continue to work with the airlines to make it safer,” he said.
The Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Muhtar Usman; and Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mr Saleh Dunoma, also commended the airline.
They said they were proud of the great milestones the carrier had recorded since it started scheduled flight operations.
The all-female flight, which took off from the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, was operated days after Air Peace produced Ajibola as its first female pilot, the airline said.
It added that the flights were in honour of Ajibola and to promote gender equality in the nation’s aviation industry and project Nigerian women as capable of standing tall among both their male and female counterparts across the world.
The Boeing 737-300 aircraft with Captain Ajibola in command and co-piloted by Senior First Officer Quincy Owen left Lagos and landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at 3.29pm to a water salute, then proceeded to the Sam Mbakwe Cargo Airport, Owerri, where it landed at 6pm before heading back to Lagos.
The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, said over 20 key positions in the airline, including those of the vice chairman, chief operating officer and chief of finance and administration, were occupied by women he said had demonstrated excellent capacity to deliver on their tasks.
The airline, he said, had employed about 2,000 workers since it commenced operations almost four years ago and about 1,500 of them were women.
“Air Peace is an airline run by women. We are very proud of giving women opportunities to excel because we believe that there is nothing men can do that women cannot do. We want to encourage our female children that they should aspire to be whatever they want to be by emulating what our female flight and cabin crew members have done today,’’ he said.