Australia

Australia's Jetstar first to hire woman to lead fleet

Georgina Sutton is one of only a handful of female chief pilots in the world Image copyright Jetstar Airways
Image caption Georgina Sutton is one of only a handful of female chief pilots in the world

Australian Capt Georgina Sutton has become the first female chief pilot for an Australian airline.

Capt Sutton was chosen for the role by Jetstar Airways - which covers all of Australia and New Zealand - and will oversee 900 pilots across the fleet.

The low cost airline said Capt Sutton was "leading the way" for female pilots across the globe.

Jetstar is owned by Qantas Airways, where Capt Sutton had previously been the Boeing 767 fleet captain.

There she had responsibility for 180 pilots, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

In a statement, Jetstar said: "This is the first time a female chief pilot has been appointed in Australia, and one of the first times for major airlines around the world."


Female firsts in aviation

Raymonde de Laroche - In 1910 the Parisian became the first woman to ever receive a pilot's license.

Amelia Earhart - The American-born pilot, who became the first woman to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean, disappeared in 1937 while attempting to fly around the world.

Jacqueline Cochran - A serial record breaker, Cochran was the first woman to fly a bomber across the Atlantic (1941), the first female pilot to break the sound barrier (1953), and the first woman to land and take off from an aircraft carrier.

Emily Howell Warner - In 1976 the Colorado-born pilot was chosen by Frontier Airlines to become the first flight captain of a major airline.


Women make up a tiny proportion of the 130,000 airline pilots worldwide - around 4,000, according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots.

The organisation says that only 450 of these women are airline captains, or the pilot in command of their aircraft,

Worldwide, the number of female chief pilots - individuals who oversee all of an airline's pilots - is even fewer.

Jetstar said that Capt Sutton was due to take up her post in February 2015.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Jetstar Airways flies to destinations across Asia and Australasia.

More on this story