Top-rated Kenya Airways (KQ) pilot Irene Koki Mutungi was recently feted in the Aviator Africa Conference and Tower Awards.
In the event which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, Koki was inducted into Aviators of Africa Hall of Fame.
In an update on her socials after being feted, the aviator expressed joy having made into the aviation books of history.
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“After working in the aviation industry for over 25 years, I am earnestly grateful for this recognition,” Koki wrote on social media.
At the same time, Kenya Airways Head of Network Planning, Martin Gitonga, won this year’s Sustainability Award.
“The Pride of Africa is proud to have you as part of the team and is grateful to the Awards for recognising your incredible contribution to the aviation of Africa
“The Aviators Africa Award also known as the Tower Awards celebrates excellence and sustainability in African Aviation,” KQ celebrated the duo in a statement.
As earlier reported on WoK, Koki was the first female pilot at the national carrier and the only one for six years.
She scored another first by being the first female African Dreamliner Captain and made it on the Forbes list of 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa 2014.
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Koki’s father was also a pilot who worked for the same airline and she desired to be a pilot was at first met by resistance from her father.
Having been a pilot, he knew the demands and thought as a woman she would be unable to cope let alone raise her family.
It took both her persistence and the intervention of his friend Captain JM Riruani (the owner of Kenya School of Flying), for him to relent.
joined Kenya Airways in 1995 as a second officer flying Fokker 50s and at the time became its first ever female pilot.
In 2004, she was the first African woman to qualify to captain a commercial aircraft.
In 2005, she was part of the very first all-female flight crew which was a huge milestone back in the day when flight crews in the country had to include males.
The captain is type rated on a number of aircrafts including Cessna C150, C172, Piper PA28, C310, C402, Fokker 50, Boeing 737, 767 and 787.
In 2014, she transitioned to the B787 and was promoted to captain of the Dreamliner which is the most sophisticated commercial airliner.