IWD2024: Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways Complete All-Female Functioned Flights  

All-Female Flights take off for International Women's Day in African Aviation.

KQ marks IWD2024 with all-female flight to London Heathrow
Photo/ KQ

Airlines in Africa, including Kenya Airways (KQ) and Ethiopian Airlines (ET), marked International Women’s Day (IWD2024) with all-female functioned flights to London.

Ethiopian’s All-Female Flight ET700

On March 8, Ethiopian Airlines took to the skies with an all-women-functioned flight ET700 (Airbus A350, ET-AZN) from Addis Ababa to London-Heathrow.

Captain Kalkidan Girma, the airline’s first female A350 captain, commanded the flight. “This flight not only empowers women but also sends a powerful message about gender equality,” Captain Girma said. “We want to inspire future generations of female aviators and continue to lead the way in promoting gender equality within the aviation industry.”


In a statement, Ethiopian noted its long-standing commitment to gender equality, boasting women professionals in various roles, including pilots, technicians, and ground crew.

Ethiopian all-women functioned flight to London has been warmly welcomed upon arrival, and the delegation has visited landmark sites in London. (Photo/Ethiopian)
Ethiopian’s all-female flight delegation in London / Photo: Ethiopian

Kenya Airways’ All-Female Team Operates Flight KQ100

Similarly, Kenya Airways operated an all-female flight KQ100 (787 Dreamliner) between Nairobi and London-Heathrow, showcasing the diverse talents of women across various airline roles.

The airline underscored this commitment by spotlighting their KQ EmpowHer program, which celebrates women’s achievements and equips them with the skills needed for self-empowerment.

Captain Cathleen Kangethe of Kenya Airways noted the significance of International Women’s Day in addressing gender inequality: “it gives light into women’s plight and enables the gender inequality to be examined, and empowers women.”

Women Take Lead

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) 25by2025 initiative has shown progress.

Women in senior airline management roles have risen from 19% in 2019 to 28% in March 2024.

IATA reports 28 female CEOs among member airlines as of Q1 2024. Africa is also making strides in aviation leadership.

Yvonne Manzi Makolo, CEO of RwandAir, is also the current IATA Board of Governors Chair, the first woman in this role (appointed in 2023).

Uganda’s Jenifer Bamuturaki leads not only as CEO of Uganda Airlines but also as the 2023 President of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA).

RAM Female Team

In North Africa, Royal Air Maroc has been demonstrating a commitment to diversity by increasing female engineers from 0% to 8% (IATA, Mar 2024), exemplifying the industry’s growing focus on inclusion across all roles.

Women Powering Travel and Tourism

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) underscores the crucial role women play in the travel and tourism industry.

Women comprise nearly 40% of the global workforce, with hospitality being the leading employer (52%) in 2019.

“Putting women at the heart of Travel & Tourism will be critical to securing a sustainable future for the sector,” stated World Travel & Tourism Council President Julia Simpson.