South Africa among the Top 5 countries with the highest number of female pilots

A black female pilot in a male dominated industry. Picture: Supplied

A black female pilot in a male dominated industry. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 10, 2024


South Africa and India are making strides in the employment of female pilots. According to a study by the International Society of Women Airline Pilots in 2021, India has over 1200 female pilots taking to the skies, around 10% of them being commercial pilots.

The ISA study revealed that 12.4% of India’s pilots were women. Ireland and South Africa followed with 9.9% of the countries’ pilots being female.

Though the figures are not very high, they are significant in comparison to other countries around the world.

Leading countries for female airline pilots. Picture:

A recent report by the Anadolu Agency, Türkiye’s national carrier Turkish Airlines employs 329 female pilots with two of those being South Africans, Annabel Vundla, the airline’s first black female captain, and First Officer Refilwe Moreetsi, the first black female management pilot.

The airline highlighted that in South Africa, the number of female pilots had grown over the past few years and women now made up almost 10% of all pilots in the country.

When it comes to India, the country has long been empowering women to break barriers and make their mark in traditionally male-dominated fields.

Commenting on equality in the aviation industry, Turkish Airlines said that women were demonstrating a strong desire to pursue a career in piloting and aviation-related jobs around the world.

“Piloting a plane shouldn’t be a matter of gender. It’s about talent, desire and determination,” said the carrier.

Turkish Airlines said it was committed to the advancement of female pilots in aviation with Emel Arman being on of its pilots.

Arman is the first female pilot to fly commercial flights, the airline’s first female pilot, and the first female captain and still flies with Turkish Airlines.

“As female pilots take to the skies, they are inspired by legends Raymonde de Laroche, one of the most memorable female pilots in history; Bedriye Tahir Gökmen, Türkiye’s first female aviator; and Amelia Earhart, the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean – arguably the world’s most famous pilot,” said the airline.