SAA all-female cabin crew and ground crew members. Picture: SAA

Last week airline company South African Airways (SAA) celebrated Women’s Month by having one of their flights being controlled by an all-female crew. 

SAA’s flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town was manned by women, with the airline’s first coloured female pilot Kavistha Maharaj, and first officer Olga Bottger as the co-pilot. 

The crew members that were looking after the passengers aboard the flight were Nomvuzo Mjanyelwa, Rene Essack, Sonali Bissessor, Thilimbeli Mikosi and Michelle De Freitas.

Flight Dispatcher Mathilda du Plessis and General Manager of Operations Zukisa Ramasia, played a key role in putting the flight together, in an effort to celebrate Women’s Month. 

The airline even had all-female ground staff for the flight, with the load controller, operations controller and ramp controller being held by a female crew. 

“We are extremely proud of the achievements of the women at SAA, where we are represented throughout the company, in leadership positions as well as in key operational areas which enables SAA to run smooth and on-time operations,” says Ramasia.

The airline also stated that the all-female operated flight is symbolic and yet a strong transformation indicator reflecting the airline's efforts to transcend the stereotypes and barriers of the past. These were manifested in the form of race and gender discrimination.  

SAA also transcended boundaries when they had an all-female crew captain an intercontinental flight from South Africa to Brazil earlier this month. 

This flight was captained by Jane Trembath, with her co-pilot being Asnath Mahapa. The inter-continental flight was a first for the airline after almost 90 years. 

Captain Jane Trembath and her co-pilots. Picture: Supplied

Currently, SAA has women working as technicians, flight deck crew, cabin crew, and in key operational and support areas throughout the SAA Group. 

At present SAA women make up 38.96% of all staff, (24.85% general staff; 0.83% cockpit crew and 13.29% cabin crew).