Ethiopian Airlines Operates Boeing 777 Flight With All-Female Crew

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In celebration of International Women’s Day, Ethiopian Airlines has operated an all-female crewed flight from Addis Ababa to Washington Dulles. Captured on arrival in Washington this morning, the Boeing 777 was treated to a water curtain and the crew celebrated.

ethiopian-airlines-crew
Ethiopian Airlines is proud to have a gender-balanced workforce. Photo: Ethiopian Airlines

What are the details?

Ethiopian Airlines flight ET500 from Addis Ababa to Washington Dulles via Dublin was flown by an all-female pilot team and also had a crew of all-female flight attendants. Timed perfectly for International Women’s Day, the flight was greeted in celebration at Washington’s Dulles airport.

Fire engines performed a water curtain for the aircraft as it arrived in the late hours of the morning on Monday, with the aircraft returning back with a different crew later that day.

Posted by Washington Dulles International Airport on Sunday, 8 March 2020

After arriving, the airline crew of 15 (including potentially some female gate agents based in Washington Dulles) posed for cameras.

Posted by Washington Dulles International Airport on Sunday, 8 March 2020

The flight, flown on a Boeing 777-200LR, took around 17 hours and 25 minutes, stopping briefly for an hour in Dublin to refuel. The return trip (ET501) was flown directly home, only taking 13 hours and 15 minutes.

Which other airlines have a focus on all-female teams?

When discussing diversity in aviation, you can’t skip airBaltic. The Riga-based European airline has an impressive balance of 50% of men and women in its teams. Speaking to Simple Flying, airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss broke this down.

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“We have 50% of females in the company; exactly 50% of our overall staff are female. We have, out of 56 managers in the company, 50% women. On the senior management level, which is 11 people, we have 45% who are female. That is the highest level in the industry.”

However, when you look at the actual pilots in the airline, the number is only at 6% which (as you will see below) is below average. The airline is hard at work to improve that number. 

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Gender balance in Aviation

In a previous article on United flying 100 female team members to an airshow, we discussed a statistic from 2014.

“Women are still greatly underrepresented in the aviation workforce. As of July 2014, approximately 5.12% of certified airline or commercial pilots in the United States are women and less than 5% hold executive roles in the aviation industry.”

According to the FAA’s own pilot statistics, in the United States, that figure has increased but only marginally to 7.3%.

Posted by Washington Dulles International Airport on Sunday, 8 March 2020

There are more female pilots in training (13%) but that is still a far rung away from the goal of 50% in the industry. It will take many years to train more female pilots thus any attempt by an airline to have more females working (or the case of Ethiopian Airlines operating this flight to draw attention to International Women’s Day) is praise indeed.

Ethiopian Airlines has been contacted to provide a comment for this story but has not replied in time for the deadline. The article will be updated when a statement is released.

What do you think about this news? Were you on this flight? Let us know in the comments.

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