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08 Mar 2018

BY James Chapple


Thomas Cook operates all-female crew for International Women's Day

Thomas Cook operated an all-female crew on Thursday morning (March 8) to mark International Women’s Day - and also took the opportunity to launch its first scholarship for female pilots.

Thomas Cook IWD 2018.jpg

Cook’s Manchester to Gran Canaria service on Thursday morning was staffed by a female captain, first officer and seven crew, supported by all-female ground staff and air traffic controllers.


Cook operated an all-female crew on Thursday morning (March 8) to mark International Women’s Day - and also took the opportunity to launch its first scholarship for female pilots.


The captain, first officer and seven crew aboard its 8.40am Manchester to Gran Canaria flight were all female, supported by female ground staff, engineers and NATS air traffic controllers.


Cook has also announced a partnership with Flight Training Europe in Jerez, Spain, to attract more female pilots.


The scholarship, which will run every year for the next five years, will be co-sponsored by Cook and FTEJerez and honours pioneering French pilot Elise Raymonde de Laroche, the first woman to receive a pilot’s licence granted 108 years ago to the day.


It is open to female applicants a part of Cook’s mentored cadet pilot training programme. Candidates can apply for a £30,000 scholarship offset against training costs.


Paul Hutchings, Cook’s UK managing director and group airline director of operations, said: “With International Women’s Day today and Womenof Aviation Worldwide Week, there was no better time to fly an all-female crew and highlight our industry is for men and women.


“We want to raise awareness of the many opportunities to build a career and encourage more young girls and women into the aviation industry.


“Our scholarship ensures Thomas Cook Airlines supports and raises awareness among women who may never have considered becoming a pilot.”


Jane Paros, who has been flying since 1990 and is also a Cook training captain, captained the flight alongside first officer Berglind Rafnsdóttir-Teasdale while fellow first officer Victoria McCarthy joined the flight to talk to passengers.


The crew comprised Victoria Starkey, Faye Emanuel, Lindsay Dixon, Stephanie Ashall, Susanne Johnston, Victoria Britland and Kelly Adrio.


Rafnsdóttir-Teasdale, who is also a member of Cook’s pilot recruiting team and conducts pilot interviews and simulator training, said: “Historically, people have seen pilots as being men. We need more women to challenge norms and keep our industry moving forward.


“It’s not just pilots but engineers and other roles in the industry too. We need to go to schools, talk to girls and young women about the options available to them and show the many career opportunities in aviation and aerospace.”


Oscar Sordo, FTEJerez chief executive, added: “We share Thomas Cook Airlines’ goal of attracting more female pilots to the profession and are honoured to part-sponsor the scholarship.”


The Thomas Cook mentored cadet pilot training programme will open for applications on March 16 and further details can be found on the FTEJerez website.

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