A flight in Afghanistan recently made history, as Kam Air operated the first service with an all-female crew onboard. Two female pilots accompanied by four women cabin crew flew the 737-500 from Kabul to Herat. Popular aviation YouTuber Josh Cahill was onboard; here’s what the experience was like.
Kam Air’s first all-women crew
International Women’s Day often sees a flurry of all-female flights around the world, but for Kam Air, this flight was groundbreaking in more ways than most. In a nation that has a history of poor women’s rights, this flight was not only a first for Kam Air, but a first for Afghanistan too.
While airlines often like to make a media splash about their support for women in aviation, Kam Air was unable to celebrate this event with too much noise, due to the heightened security in the country. Gatherings and celebrations are discouraged, so instead, Kam Air invited YouTube’s most-watched aviation aficionado and flight reviewer, Josh Cahill, to experience the flight.
Josh said after the flight,
“It has been the honour of my life to be part of such a historical flight, it sends a strong message to the world that Afghanistan is more than just a war-torn country, given that during the Taliban occupation Women had absolutely no rights.”
Kam Air is a relatively young Afghan airline, having been established in 2003. It remains the only privately run airline in the country. Although it is currently banned from EU airspace, its recent certification under the IATA IOSA scheme gives it hope for being removed from the blacklist. The airline has said it wants to begin flying to Frankfurt soon.
Onboard the flight
Cahill arrived at the airport to meet the crew for this historic flight. He was introduced to Kam Air’s first female Afghan pilot, Mohadese Mirzaee, aged just 22. She took on the First Officer role accompanying Captain Veronica Borysova, aged 32, who was the second female pilot to join the airline.
Back in the cabin, four female flight attendants kept things shipshape for the passengers onboard. The aircraft flying today would be YA- KMN, a 23-year-old Boeing 737-500. It’s an elderly aircraft, but not the oldest in the fleet. Kam Air’s oldest 737 is 25.5 years old, and is a 737-300 registered YA-KMV. Kam Air also leases a 767-300 from Ukrainian Wings, which is over 28 years old.
Nevertheless, the airframe was older than the First Officer onboard for this flight. The 737 took off from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul at 13:00 on 24 February 2021 for its 350-nautical mile flight to Herat in the West of Afghanistan. You can enjoy the flight in Josh’s video below:
The flight was not only historic for Kam Air, but for Afghanistan as a whole. For a country with very few women’s rights for many years, this is a mark of how far it has come in recent years.