LAHORE, Jan 25: A unique record was set in the country’s aviation history on Wednesday when a woman pilot and her all-women crew flew a PIA Fokker plane without any assistance from men. Captain Ayesha Rabia Naveed was in command of the first all-women crew of the national air carrier which transported 40 passengers from the federal capital to Lahore in the afternoon.

Flight PK-623 created a unique aviation record for the national air carrier as both the pilot and co-pilot were women. In the past, flights have either had a male pilot or co-pilot.

The PIA captain, allowed to fly only Fokker flights, was accompanied by three crew members. The co-pilot was Ms Sadia.

The passengers aboard the plane did not know about all-female crew flight until it had made a landing. It was a surprise for some of them when they saw the PIA station master garlanding the crew members on their successful flight in the lounge of Lahore’s Allama Iqbal airport.

Some of the female passengers also approached the crew and congratulated them.

“Our women have proved they are capable of even flying aircraft. During the flight there was no difference at all and it was quite interesting to know at landing,” said Mr Khan, one of the passengers.

“I think PIA should have made this occasion a special one by boarding all female passengers as well. I must tell my family in Islamabad that women no more look after the kitchen only. This is indeed encouraging for our girls,” a housewife said.

At present, Capt Ayesha is the sole woman pilot of PIA who is licenced to fly Fokker plane only. She remained co-pilot or first officer for 15 years and has 6,000 flying hours behind her.

Capt Ayesha told this reporter that the all-women crew flight was a great experience for her and other crew members. They were all ecstatic about the successful flight.

“It was such a nice feeling to fly with a female co-pilot and crew members. The flight was smooth and we enjoyed it. It is also a great achievement for me and PIA as well,” she added.

“I have dreams of flying Airbus and Boeing aircraft,” said Ayesha, who was promoted as a captain in April 2005.

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