South African Airways joined the league of airlines that have operated an all-female flight as two of its female pilots made as the first black African female flight deck crew to operate an SAA flight.
According to iol.co.za, the pilots, Captain Annabel Vundla and First Officer Refilwe Moreetsi, both alumni of the SA Air Force (SAAF), flew their aircraft from the City of Gold and landed to applause and an impromptu photoshoot with excited passengers in the Mother City on Tuesday morning.
On the ground at Cape Town International Airport the two high-flyers were joined by SAA’s only woman aircraft maintenance engineer, Kgaogelo Mahasha, but what made the achievement all the sweeter for the three was the fact that they’d all achieved their positions purely on merit and not as a result of affirmative action.
SAA celebrates the arrival of a flight being operated for the first time in the history of SAA by two black African women First Officer Refilwe Moreetsi and Captain Annabel Vundla.
Vundla, who is married and a mother of two, has flown for 22 years and spent 12 years flying VIPs in the SAAF, where she is still signed up as a military reservist with the presidential squadron.
She said she had always wanted to fly but didn’t think it was ever going to be possible. However, in high school back in Mafikeng, members of the air force visited her school on a recruitment drive.
“I saw my opportunity, I was already doing well at maths and science and enrolled,” she said.
Moreetsi, also married and a mom of two, has been in the industry for 15 years.
In the air force she flew Oryx helicopters and moved on to passenger aircraft at SA Express before she began working at SAA 14 years ago
“I was inspired to become a pilot after my first flying experience in 1994,” she said.
Mahasha has been in the industry for seven years and trained with SA Express and at Denel before being posted to CTIA, where she is currently the only woman in her field, driven by curiosity about how things work.
SAA human resources executive Mpho Letlape said: “South Africans can feel proud of a national carrier that is truly representative of our diversity and we celebrate that.
“SAA is a non-discriminatory, non-racial, equal opportunities employer with a strategic transformational role.”