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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Young African woman who works as flight attendant grows to become a pilot, sets record as first female commercial pilot

A young African woman named Aya Gertrude Konan started her career as a flight attendant. Eventually, she achieved her dream of becoming a pilot through hard work and successfully competed against tough opponents to reach her goal.

Aya, an Ivory Coast native holds a degree in Marketing and Advertising and has been passionate about aviation since her early childhood. Due to a lack of financial means as the training cost 60 million, she applied and was selected as a flight attendant.

“I must have been eight years old. At the beginning of the school year, on the form we were filling out, I wrote that I wanted to become a pilot. It was the first time I had expressed it so clearly. The teacher called me and said, ‘You have a very big dream. If you hold on and work hard, you will make it,” she said.

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She began her career in the aviation industry as a flight attendant in April 2013 and worked till October 2015. Fortunately, the year after, she saw an opportunity to further her career and she jumped on it.

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 In the last quarter of 2014, the national airline company Air Côte D’Ivoire launched a competition with the aim of recruiting and training young Ivorians in aeronautical professions (pilots and aircraft mechanics).

Aya seized the opportunity and applied. At the end of the recruitment process which included file analysis, psycho-technical tests, general knowledge, mathematics, physics, and English 15 people including her were selected out of approximately 1500 candidates.

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Out of the 15 candidates selected, Aya was the only woman. They were sent for training by the national airline Air Côte d’Ivoire and the Ivorian State to the National Polytechnic Institute Houphouët Boigny (INPHB) in Cote d’Ivoire for theoretical training.


After which they proceeded to France for the practical phase. The training to become a pilot took Aya two years and four months in total. At the end of the training, Aya the first female civilian airline pilot trained by the State of Côte d’Ivoire

Aya also earned qualification as a Bombardier Dash Q400. She is also the first Ivorian airline pilot. “When I fly, it’s just the sky and me. It’s a marvel, a freedom. It’s inexplicable. You take off with this large aircraft, with over a hundred passengers on board,” Aya said.

”You carry the weight of this responsibility, but you think to yourself: ‘I’m mingling with the clouds’, ‘I’m in the skies’,” she added.

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In another story, a young woman named Rexy Rolle has finally been appointed as the CEO and President of Western Airlines after 23 years of working as a baggage handler in the airport. She also made history as the first-ever female CEO of the airline.

The 35-year-old woman was also appointed as the Accountable Manager of Western Air, the Bahamas’ largest privately owned airline. This historic appointment places her in the esteemed 8% of female airline CEOs globally.

Rexy is the daughter of Western Air’s founder, Captain Rex Rolle, and has been an integral part of the company since the age of 12. She began as a baggage handler and continued serving the company in different positions. Read more about Rexy HERE.

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