More than a hundred years after Helène Dutrieu was the first Belgian woman and one of the first female pilots in the world to obtain het pilot’s license, Brussels Airlines has 46 female pilots in its ranks today. Like the 420 male pilots they fly both as Captain or as First Officer on the European or the long haul network. At the occasion of International Women’s Day, Captain Lauretta Verbist, who is working for Brussels Airlines since 1998, took the initiative to assemble an entirely female crew on flight SN501 to New York.
The flight will be operated by Lauretta and Sophie in the cockpit, while Sonia, Cynthia, Gina, Chantal, Diana, Françoise, Melanie and Nathalie will take care of the service in the cabin. “We are really looking forward to this flight”, says Captain Lauretta. “A job in aviation is becoming more and more favorable to women and, with a little organization and support from your family and with an employer like Brussels Airlines, it is possible to combine it with family life. I’ve noticed a positive evolution in recent years and more and more women choose for a career as pilot.”
With more than 10% female pilots, Brussels Airlines scores better than the European average. Female pilots are also taking up functions with more responsibilities. For example, one of Brussels Airlines’ female pilots is leading an important project which will allow Brussels Airlines to lower the fuel consumption of its aircraft. Another example is that of a former Brussels Airlines pilot who moved to Bahrein and became the first female captain in the country.