04 November 2008

South Korea's first female air captains

Nice news that I've picked up, first from tonight's MBC News:

Air Transport News

South Korea has had a 60-year history of civil aviation, but it has been extremely male-dominated; women were not even allowed to enter pilot training well into the 1990s. That sad chapter has come to a close today, however, with two women becoming Korean Air Captains today. The two women were South Korea's first female airline pilots, starting training in 1995 and becoming MD-82 First Officers in 1997. Starting on November 15th, they will command Boeing 737s. Both women have racked up over four thousand flight hours each, many of them in larger aircraft like Boeing's 747s and 777s.

I hope this is even more of a crack in the strong Confucian tradition that has plagued the Korean society until now. Other Asian airlines, such as China Airlines in Taiwan, have had female Captains for a few years, and in the Western world, female pilots are an everyday sight. My usual airline, United, employs more female pilots than anyone else in the world, and I've had the pleasure of flying with many of them - including Captains on domestic routes and First Officers on even the tough San Francisco-Seoul route.

I'm now hitting the sack to prepare for tomorrow, which will take me on a day trip to Daejeon, 100 miles away, on the KTX bullet train. The ride should last me at most an hour with an intermediate stop, or 48 minutes nonstop. Looking forward to a good day - and hoping to get some great news feeds on the train regarding the US presidential election results.