View Full Version : Kenya Airways first female captain!

15th Jan 2005, 02:54
Article on allAfrica.com (http://allafrica.com/stories/200501140740.html)

Great article on KQ's first female captain, her first command flight had an all female crew. KQ's first female pilot, before command on the 737, she was a first officer on the 767. Also interesting to note her father(Capt J.Mutungi) is a retired KQ chief pilot.

15th Jan 2005, 13:31
Nice to read something positive about female aircrew - we haven't had much of that this week..... :(

15th Jan 2005, 23:11
As a mark of protest, in honour of the Inaugeration of the 43rd President of the United States and in support of racial and sexual harmony I have removed my posting from this forum.

It seems that everyone, including the moderators, have entirely lost their sense of humour, have forgotten what "Tongue in cheek" means and have gone so PC that this forum SUX !!

Have a nice life!:yuk:

Kaptin M
16th Jan 2005, 00:33
A prime piece of reporting :rolleyes:

Capt Mutungi, who only recently turned 30, took charge of a symbolic all-female crew consisting of a First Officer, Flight Engineer (:uhoh: on a 737??? :uhoh: ), Flight Purser and Flight Attendants on her inaugural flight.

Captain Mutungi's all lady crew were full of accolade and admiration heralding her accomplishment as emblematic to all women in the industry and even those aspiring.

Kenya Airways' head of the Boeing 737 fleet, Capt Peter Marang'a explained her upward path. "Her movement to a command position on the Boeing 737-300 has followed the normal pilot seniority system in Kenya Airways."

A graduate of both the Kenya School of Flying and Oklahoma City Flight School, Captain Mutungi has risen steadily through the ranks, having previously been the First Officer of the 767-300 ER, the second largest aircraft in the Kenya Airways fleet.

The first Kenya Airways woman captain of a Boeing 767-300 :confused: , Irene Mutungi, communicates to passengers on board the special all ladies flight to mark her promotion.

16th Jan 2005, 00:40
Just goes to show how well Mr Boeing has designed aircraft.


16th Jan 2005, 01:52
Curiously, there is no photo of her and crew of such historic flight.

I am Birddog
16th Jan 2005, 05:34
This is great news...congrates Kenya Airways...:ok:

16th Jan 2005, 14:42
Mercenary Ali,- You are totally out of line and reveal some deep seated and very unfair prejudices. She has risen through the seniority system and got where she is despite rather than because of KQs internal politics. Her father left them, not altogether willingly , more than a year ago and if connections were the issue she would have been disadvantaged rather than advantaged by his departure.
KQ may well be based in a 3rd world country but it has since privatisation been an international rather than purely national business. BAs consultancy arm, Speedwing, was heavily involved in the privatisation and immediately post privatisation era and it has a substantial KLM shareholding ( but very little day to day involvement). Its punctuality record is one of the worlds best and it flies a modern well maintained fleet crewed by thoroughly competant pilots and friendly cabin crews. They are therefore both a safe and an enjoyable choice over many of their more formal and less customer orientated overseas competitors. Furthermore their lady pilots arent campaigning for the right to work when they want , how they want.
Time to put away the prejudices.

Kep Ten Jim
16th Jan 2005, 23:44
So what's the big deal? Emily Njovani in Air Zimbabwe started off as flight attendent, became a FO on 737s in about late 80s, then FO 767s early 90s and is now TRE 767s - the position she holds today.

19th Jan 2005, 21:22
Shame. Should keep it pure.

19th Jan 2005, 21:51
This is great news indeed! Congrats to her.

19th Jan 2005, 22:21
"Shame. Should keep it pure."

Pure what, Waspie? Come on, have the guts to say what you really mean...

Nardi Riviera
20th Jan 2005, 01:58
Could it be that this very gal learned about flying from her pilot father?
Escaping from what most females are taught – better stick to the kitchen.
Any of you really believe that he could've pushed a "babe" through the works?
Why can't macho-pilots accept the fact that females also can make the grades?
You think that any airline will permit "incompetent" pilots flying the line?
Female pilots are known to be more careful than men, so what's the "problem"?
This gal has obviously negotiated a few obstacles to get to where she is now.
Yikes – take us on any day and we'll fly circles around you and shoot you down!
Yawwn. This has been proved looong ago. So let us in, for heavens sake! :} :*

20th Jan 2005, 04:36
I read about Capt. Mutungi being the first KQ female pilot just after I finished Highschool in Kenyaand needless to say, based on the High school she went to, she had to be smart. Kenya Airways is definitely handling it's business and I'm very happy to see that they are certainly giving the ladies fare share of the pie.
Keep up the good work.
The bitter rejects here should swallow the red pill.

20th Jan 2005, 05:33
Too bad all the passengers weren't female too, would have been perfect.

20th Jan 2005, 07:12
Article from KQ inhouse magazine that a friend sent to me:

As the world observed Fools’ Day in 1996, Irene Mutungi made a clever move and joined Kenya Airways as a co-pilot on the Fokker 50. She then surely and steadily rose through the ranks and has now checked out as a captain on the B737-300.

To mark her promotion as the first Lady Captain, Irene commanded KQ 410/411 from Nairobi to Entebbe on the 5fth of January 2005 on an All Ladies Flight.

The others with her were First Officer Betty Wakhungu in the cockpit, Flight Purser Eugenie Dadet, In-Flight Attendants Dorcas Thuo, Nerreall Yongo, Damaris Mwangi and Kelvyne Karuri.

Born on 24th November 1974, Irene attended Loreto Convent before joining Kenya School of Flying for her initial training in Aviation Technology. With this foundation there was no looking back for Irene and everything went like clockwork .She thereafter went to Crabfree, Oklahoma City in the USA.

On 1st April in 1996 she joined Kenya Airways as a co-pilot on the Fokker 50. Two years later she was promoted to First Officer on Boeing 737-300 after training in Seattle, USA. Another promotion came her way in 2000 as a First Officer on the Boeing 767 after training in Melbourne, Australia. In August 2004 Irene took command position on Boeing 737-300. She then undertook training in Gatwick, London and checked out as a Captain on the Boeing 737-300 on 9th November 2004. Consequently, she has become a member of the International Airline Women Association and is due to receive recognition from the organization in May this year as an Airline Woman Aircraft Commander.

Irene’s steady climb to a command position on the Boeing 737-300 has been charted on the normal Pilot Seniority at Kenya Airways.

In normal flight operations Irene is treated just like any other of the many captains at the company. She flies with anyone and gender is not an issue at all.

“In total, the airline has five qualified lady pilots and several are still in training,” Says Fleet Manager B737 Capt. Peter Maranga. “Presently, Irene happens to be the first to check out as a commander. Her seniority is based on the date of entry into the airline and in due course there will be quite a number attaining the status of Lady Captains.”

I have two pictures of the flight but I donn't know how to post them here...anybody know?

Kaptin M - KQ carry an Engineer on most of their flights to supervise fuelling, carry out minor repairs etc as some of the places they fly to, you would be in luck to find a Boeing MX facility!

21st Jan 2005, 20:54
I have to admit...Some of the best pilots Iv had the pleasure of working with have been Female, both FO's and Skippers and they are never a burden to the crew in the galley!!!

21st Jan 2005, 21:10
There have been women flying airplanes almost as long as airplanes have been around. If they are not represented in significant numbers, it has nothing to do with innate intellect/ability but rather overpowering social forces that prevent their ability to compete in this profession.

In the US, the WAASP organization from WW2 is a classic example. These women flew the same airplanes as the men but after the war found little or no opportunity to fly professionally. They had proven themselves in an airplane but society offered them no way to compete for jobs. No, they didn't fly in combat, but that's not what we're discussing here. We're talking about getting from Point A to Point B....like what YOU do.

I'm not the champion of any cause but only recognize that no case can be made against women pilots in professional aviation.

24th Jan 2005, 17:11

I'm not the champion of any cause but only recognize that no case can be made against women pilots in professional aviation

. . except that they cannot expect to be treated any differently than anyone else; no special priveleges, no special deals, no special 50% only rosters so they can raise their offspring!!. .


Oh! And I too have had the pleasure to fly with at least 3 wonderful lady pilots and hey! I would rather have a pretty looking gal next to me than some sweaty fat bloke!!!


Ignition Override
25th Jan 2005, 03:58
Mercenary: I've also flown with several lady pilots (one Captain and the rest FOs), who, except for looks, better 'aftershave lotion' etc, are no different in their jobs as pilots. Some who have long legs remind me of just why I like women in a uniform...oh well. My company hired ladies who have the same amount of flying hours as the guys. Fortunately the company wanted the same sort of mixed flying backgrounds as with the other pilots: they wanted an aggressive career, whereby the pilots flew at least two or three high-performance turbine machines, instead of just a B-1900, ATR or a C-141 etc. But solid experience reportedly was not always the case at another US airlines years ago, due to court sanctioned quotas- or maybe the fear of them.

It is well known in the industry, and in a way, I could feel sorry for some of those pilots, who due to very little experience, had major handicaps to overcome-but the pilots applied for the jobs. Some probably did really well. Much more experienced pilots, even some ladies, were excluded from being accepted. A different possible problem reportedly involved other people who were allowed to conduct interviews (chat with a psychiatrist...), which had nothing to do with aviation, or even why the applicant wanted to spend a career there. Various (possibly political)agendas were at work. Overall, certain methods to either comply with, or avoid government-imposed quotas, created much of the controversy that still exists, several years later, in the US industry.


26th Jan 2005, 02:30
Oh boy.... Should have titled this thread...The Maturity thread....better still, The Imaturity thread. Unfortunaetly, a female rises to the position of a male dominated job and some people have a brain fart. Good for you girl. Don't let the cavemen get you stirred up.

28th Jan 2005, 16:39
If women are truly the equals of men in the cockpit or any other professional arena why do we make such a big deal out of such things?

Curious, though, daddy was the chief pilot. Once again a woman gets to where she is because of a man.

Rat Catcher
31st Jan 2005, 06:24
EdoKazumichi, it's a shame to be so short sighted and unknowing of life. The fact that her Dad was the Chief probably made it far harder on her than you can imagine. KQ runs a strict seniority system and she is where she is because of her seniority and her ability to meet the required standard.
People like you make things like this a big deal because of your attitude, so enjoy reading about it:mad: :mad: :yuk:

1st Feb 2005, 19:28
Rat Catcher,

Every day men obtain positions through seniority and their ability to meet standards (your words) and yet this is not considered noteworthy. But if one possesses the other set of genitalia it is heralded as a stupendous accomplishment. Why?

Perhaps you think that it is such a grand achievement because you believe that sexist discrimination places a nearly insurmountable barrier to female advancement. No doubt such obstacles exist but my experience in the real world has shown me that every such obstacle a woman faces in her career progression is balanced or exceeded by A SPECIAL FAVOR GRANTED BY OTHER MEN BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN. Thus the playing field is level thus her achievements are no more or less laudable than those of men thus when people make a big fuss over things like female captains it strikes me as condescending. The feminist cause is not advanced by such patronizing hoopla.

3rd Feb 2005, 19:53
Am a proud Kenyan today,
Knowing Captain Mutungi in person, she is hard nut to crack and very devoted. I also know one of the flight attendants since we went to the same school back in Kenya. Its time men pved way to women who deserve the best. Let us all give credit where it is due :ok: :ok: :ok:

6th Oct 2006, 15:43
Thanks to this article i will never set foot on a Kenya Airways plane.It took only 4 years for this lady to be promoted to captain on a large commercial airliner.She obviosly does not have adequate experience yet.Had she been on a western airline, she would have been required to have more years of experience just like all the men go through before gaining captain status.Another reason i wont step foot on her plane is obviously explained by the example of the Klm female piloted plane that ran into trouble over Alaska.This lady could not handle an emergency and she immediately went to unnessesary panick when all the four engines shut down due to volcanic ash release.Just listen to the cockpit recorder tape and judge for yourself.They can fly planes but cant keep their cool during emergencies.

6th Oct 2006, 22:06
Cast your mind back to QF1 and Bangkok. QF9, a "classic 747" captained by a female wisely deemed the situation a dodgy one and successfully "went around". No big deal really... however, her colleague on the 744 thought he was better than the weather..

6th Oct 2006, 22:12

Surely all that proves is that QF9 had less of an affinity for golf.:)


6th Oct 2006, 23:04
Thanks to this article i will never set foot on a Kenya Airways plane.

There... there... wannabee captain. Got an issue get a tissue. You'll get your shot in about four years... but then again maybe not.

7th Oct 2006, 09:10
Thanks to this article i will never set foot on a Kenya Airways plane.It took only 4 years for this lady to be promoted to captain on a large commercial airliner.She obviosly does not have adequate experience yet.

Maths is obviously not your strong point, which is a shame for you as it's something rather useful in the world of flying. This lady started flying as a co-pilot in 1996. Now listen carefully.. 2005-1996 = 9, not 4.

*wondering why you trawled the archives to find a thread over 18 months old in order to make your first post and demonstrate your lack of aptitude?*