On Friday, November 27, 2020, history was made as a Nigerian, Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo, became the first Nigerian pilot to fly the Boeing 787 courtesy of Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight to Abuja. Sowemimo, was on the right seat of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner as she assisted Captain Khan Sameer Ali.
She is the first Nigerian female Boeing 787 Pilot and the first Nigerian female Pilot to fly for Qatar Airways.
An excited Director-General, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri, said via her official Twitter handle: “Today, Qatar Air operated its inaugural flight to Abuja, Nigeria. And our own Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo was on the right seat as she assisted Captain Khan Sameer Ali. Adeola is the first Nigerian female Boeing 787 Pilot and the first Nigerian female Pilot to fly for Qatar Airways.”
Sowemimo, an alumnus of Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomosho, graduated as a Pilot in 2011 from the US-based Sunrise Aviation Academy and started her aviation career there.
She subsequently became the first Nigerian female pilot to work for Qatar Airways in the Middle East — a region which is challenging for women hoping to become pilots.
She is the first Nigerian female pilot to fly the Boeing 767 Aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean, which puts her in the same league with Kenya’s Captain Irene Koki and Ethiopia’s Captain Amsale Gulau.
Over the years, Nigerian women have proved that they are capable of achieving incredible feats across all industries and this is the case of Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo, an indigene of Ogbomosho, Oyo State.
Adeola married Seun Funmi Olamilekan Sowemimo on April 22, 2017, and the marriage is blessed with kids.
Her ability to excel in her career despite being married is an inspiration for Nigerian women to pursue their dreams despite having a family.
In 1978, Chinyere Kalu was recorded as the first Nigerian female commercial pilot, thereby making her part of the first wave of African female pilots but not the first female pilot in Africa. The place of the female pilot in African social-political context is subjective.
One account has it that Ghanaian Millicent Melody Danquah was the first female pilot after she flew solo for the first time in a de Havilland Canada DHC -1 Chipmunk Aircraft in 1964, making her prominent as the first female African aviator.
Like Danquah and Kalu, cited earlier, a wave of positive acknowledgement, praise and congratulatory messages has continued to trail Sowemimo’s feat.
In 2019 when her appointment with Qatar Airways was announced, Adeola took to her Facebook page to thank God for His mercy. She wrote: “It is the Lord’s doing and its marvelous in my sight”.
Caught in the euphoria of her moment of glory, the Orlando, Florida based pilot further posted a picture of herself as a student of Sunrise Aviation Academy U.S on Facebook with the caption “Days of little beginning … God be praised #Ihavedominion”.
On seeing her post, friends and family members on the platform also celebrated her for the great achievement, thanking God for granting her the ability to achieve it. Other well-meaning Nigerians also followed suit on social media to heap praises on her for the stunning milestone.
One of such was Arunma Oteh, a former World Bank Vice-President, who gave Sowemimo the applause with the tweet: Congratulations Captain Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo, making Nigeria proud.
Headquartered in the Qatar Airways Tower in Doha, Qatar Airline Operates a hub -and-spoke network, linking over 150 international destinations across African, central Asia, Europe, far East, South Asia, America and Oceania, using a fleet of more than 200 aircraft.
Even though the Middle East is home to some of the world’s biggest and most recognizable airlines like Emirates and Etihad, it’s reputed as an extremely challenging region for women hoping to set into the cockpit. The state-owned national carrier of Qatar is one of the first in the region to introduce female pilots with women accounting for 44 percent of the airline’s workforce as at 2018, according to its Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker.
With additional reporting by Kine Ivere and Abiola Odutola
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