Ethiopian Airlines Appoints First Female Captain

Above: Captain Amsale Gualu Endegnanew (right) who made history by becoming the first female captain at Ethiopian Airlines. (ET)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, October 15, 2010

New York (Tadias) – She may not be the first Ethiopian woman pilot, but Captain Amsale Gualu Endegnanew is just as pioneering. She is the first female to become captain in the history of Ethiopian Airlines.

According to the company, the pilot was at controls of a next generation Bombardier airplane for her historic flight, which she performed over domestic routes on October 14, 2010. “Captain Amsale proudly took off her first flight from the left hand seat of the flight deck of a Q-400 aircraft from Addis Ababa to Gondar then to Axum and finally returned back to Addis Ababa after a total of 3.6 flight hours,” the airline announced in a press release.

“Captain Amsale joined Ethiopian Airlines Pilot Training School on July 10, 2000 and started her career as first officer on November 26, 2002. Since then, she has trained and worked on Fokker-50, 757 and 767 aircraft as first officer. Captain Amsale has been able to complete successfully all the necessary training requirements and passed through rigorous checks to gain her four stripes. She has a total of 4475 flight hours under her belt when she becomes the commander-in-chief of her flight.”

In a brief statement following her groundbreaking flight, Captain Amsale said this moment has been a long time coming. “It is a great privilege to become the first female captain of the national carrier,” she said. “I have been trained and passed through various ladders at Ethiopian Airlines.”

“The company has been very supportive of my efforts to realize my vision of becoming a captain,” she added.

Congratulating her on the occasion, Weyzero Elizabeth Getachew, a Senior Vice President for Human Resource Management and the highest ranking female executive in the airline said, “Captain Amsale’s success is a great achievement on her part and it is also an achievement for the airline. It is my hope that other females will be inspired by her success and Ethiopian will see more female candidates in the near future.” The country’s flag-career currently has four female pilots working as first officers.

Who is Ethiopia’s first female pilot?

Some say Weyzero Asegedech Asefa, who became a pilot post World War II, is the first Ethiopian female pilot. While others argue that Weyzero Mulumebet Emeru, whose flight training was interrupted when the Italians envaded Ethiopia in 1936, holds the title of first Ethiopian female pilot.

More photos courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines via

Learn more about Ethiopian airlines at

Interview with Girma Wake: Former CEO of Ethiopian Airlines (Capital Ethiopia)
Video: Ethiopian TV on the First Female Captain at Ethiopian Airlines

57 Responses to “Ethiopian Airlines Appoints First Female Captain”

  1. 1 Capt Hailu Oct 15th, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    My heart felt congratulations to Capt Amsale on her historic accomplishment. This is not only a major milestone for our airline, but an inspiration to women in general. As you know, Ethiopian Airlines Pilot Training School attracts students from all over Africa and it is my hope that this news will encourage other women from around the continent to follow suit.

    Thank you for your service!!


  2. 2 ANTENEH TENAYE Oct 15th, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Hi captain Amsale, Congratulation on your Success! You are a role model for women.

  3. 3 Tsehai Oct 15th, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Congratulations! Capt. Amsale. I take my hat off for you. I am proud of Ethiopian Airlines. When I think of my country, EAL comes to my mind. What happened to Ato Girma Wake, the general manager of the airline? Where is he? He was so intelligent and managed EAl successfully. It is so sad to see some one like him replaced by less qualified personnel.

  4. 4 asteway gezahegn Oct 16th, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Congra!! We are proud of you!

  5. 5 Mahlet Oct 16th, 2010 at 4:33 am


    Wow, it took her 10 yrs to become Captain? That is some serious training. One can become a medical doctor, an engineer, a lawyer, even a professor in 10 yrs. But this is her chosen work, so Congratulations on your achievement.

    Mazel tov, good luck!

  6. 6 yirgalem Oct 16th, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Great Amsale! Congratulations on making your dream of becoming the captain of Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s number one airline! Enjoy your profession and long life. Stay blessed.

  7. 7 Biq Eneq Oct 16th, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Well done. Congra sis! u r now an excellent exampel to all of us and an asset to our beloved Ethiopia.

  8. 8 assefa Oct 16th, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Congratulations our Ethiopian hero.

  9. 9 Jen Oct 16th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    The story of Captain Amsale of Ethiopian Airlines is great addition to the history of women in Aviation.

    1910 – September 2 – Blanche Stuart Scott, without permission or knowledge of Glenn Curtiss, the airplane’s owner and builder, removes a small wood wedge and is able to get the airplane airborne — without any flying lessons — thus becoming the first American woman to pilot an airplane

    1910 – October 13 – Bessica Raiche’s flight qualifies her, for some, as the first woman pilot in America — because some discount the flight of Scott as accidental and therefore deny her this credit

    1910 – Baroness Raymonde de la Roche becomes the first woman in the world to earn her pilot’s license

    1911 – August 11 – Harriet Quimby becomes the first American woman licensed pilot

    1928 – June 17 – Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly across the Atlantic — Lou Gordon and Wilmer Stultz did most of the flying

    1932 – May 20-21 – Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic

    1932 – Ruthy Tu becomes first woman pilot in the Chinese Army

    1937 – July 2 – Amelia Earhart lost over Pacific

    1938 – Hanna Reitsch becomes the first woman to fly a helicopter and the first woman to be licensed as a helicopter pilot

    1939 – Willa Brown, first African American commercial pilot and first African American woman officer in the Civil Air Patrol, helps form the National Airmen’s Association of America to help open up the U.S. Armed Forces to African American men.

    Read the Women in Aviation – Timeline at

  10. 10 elizabeth Oct 16th, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Such a beautiful role model to our girls, I’m absolutely proud of you!

  11. 11 DJ Oct 16th, 2010 at 12:41 pm


  12. 12 meron Oct 16th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Does anyone know how many women pilots there are in Ethiopia?

  13. 13 Chewa set Oct 16th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I hope her men colleagues are nice to her and treat her with respect because as a professional women, I feel that is very important for her future advancement within the corporation. Abehsa men can be very difficult to work with. They feel intimidated by a strong women. That’s my personal experience.

    Amsale, congratulations on your achievement thus far and all the best in your future endeavors.

  14. 14 Benyiam Oct 16th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    She is betam konjo too!

    Well done Captain Amsale. Keep it up!

  15. 15 Martha Mammo Oct 16th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I can’t believe it took so long to name a female captain at Ethiopian airlines. You need to be upto date ET. Need more women in the ranks? One is not good enough. This is 2010, not 1830.

  16. 16 Demoz Oct 16th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    What an inspiration and trailblazer! I hope more young girls will follow in her footsteps.

  17. 17 Teddy Oct 16th, 2010 at 1:56 pm


  18. 18 Elsa Oct 16th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Way to go Captain! What a beautiful role model. Good luck with everything.

  19. 19 Samson T Oct 16th, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    This is EAL the poineer for AFRICAN Aviation standards. Amsale we really are proud of you. WEL DONE!!!

  20. 20 Brooks Oct 16th, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    My Dear Capitain Amsale-You are the!!,the stick is in your hand.

    Chewa Set(Respectfully)

    I am very sympathetic to your concern.Forget in Ethiopia my dear!!!

    Men in the west went through the most atrocious Feminism and Sexual revolutionary Battles,never even got wounded.The Men myth saved them.How about Women trying the Chines Yin and Yang concept of complimentary whole,struggle through strength and tenderness that is the only solution left for women to defeat this myth.I think so.Thanks.

  21. 21 Habesh Oct 16th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Well done, this is an achievement.

    One question, What happened to Captain Sefanit? Wasn’t she also an Ethiopian Airlines Pilot?

  22. 22 mali Oct 17th, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Captain Amsale,

    You made history. I admire your determination and persistance for 10 years.

    God bless you.

  23. 23 welde Oct 17th, 2010 at 7:05 am


  24. 24 Tesfaye Maru Oct 17th, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Chewa Set, I disagree with you too. I don’t think all Abesha men are intimidated by strong women. I am an Abesha and I am intimidated only by smart and tall women, like my wife :-)

    Joking aside though, you do have a point to a certain extent, but please do not exaggerate or generalize.

    Last, but not least, big congratulations to Amsale on her success!! Stay strong!

  25. 25 biruk Oct 17th, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Good job captain.

  26. 26 Robel begashaw Oct 17th, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Congrats captain you are a hero!

  27. 27 Amsale Oct 18th, 2010 at 12:48 am

    Congratulation mokshae, well done I am really proud of you. You are such a brave and dedicated woman to your career. Best wishes and good luck.

  28. 28 Reason Oct 18th, 2010 at 4:53 am

    Way to go sista!

  29. 29 Haile Oct 18th, 2010 at 4:59 am

    In the midst of the fog of difficulties and challenges Ethiopia is facing, this is indeed good news to celebrate. Capt. Amsale, her family and the EAL staff is to be commended for this success. We look forward to a new decade when the outstanding achievemnets of EAL will continue under the new leadership and the formidable team it will be able to inspire, lead and encourage.

    Cangratualtions to Capt. Amsale and God Bless Ethiopia!!!

  30. 30 BIRUK B. Oct 19th, 2010 at 12:53 am


  31. 31 Ephrem Oct 19th, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Congratulations and well done. Good luck in your work.

  32. 32 Hiwi Oct 19th, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Captain Amsale, koranibish ehitachin! Awesome achievement & all the best from here on dear! :)

  33. 33 bewkete Oct 21st, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    hey good job!!!

  34. 34 gtz Oct 30th, 2010 at 6:20 am

    Wow, it’s really interesting and inspiring. She is indeed pioneering!!!!!

  35. 35 haile Nov 1st, 2010 at 8:42 am

    What a pleasant and encouraging news. Well done Captain Amsale. You are such an asset for the entire Ethiopian Nation.

  36. 36 Jimmy Derege Nov 10th, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Why did it take so long to hire a female pilot? Shame on Ethiopian airlines for dragging its feet for over 6 decades. It is about time!

  37. 37 mikael g medhn Nov 13th, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    congratulations capt. amsale.

  38. 38 Abay Admasu Nov 14th, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Yes, you did it!!

    You are a great role model.

  39. 39 yoseph Nov 14th, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I am happy to see you here.

  40. 40 debora Nov 15th, 2010 at 3:39 am


    Keep it up, it is a great achievement and inspiration for all Ethiopians, especially for females!

  41. 41 Hymon Samuel Nov 15th, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Cogratulation Capt-Amsale betam des yemel neger new.

    egzabehar yetebeqiesh.

  42. 42 abiy Nov 17th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    good luck

  43. 43 Jack Nov 28th, 2010 at 10:06 am

    She is an Angel in the sky. Way to go Amsale!

  44. 44 Mike Dec 6th, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    GO ET!

  45. 45 BLene Dec 15th, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Congratulations dear Sister !!

  46. 46 sam Dec 16th, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Capitain, congratulation. You did it. Unfortunately my country is behind the time. i thought we have a lot….sad sad

  47. 47 dereje Apr 21st, 2011 at 4:17 am

    you are lucky to be the first in ethiopian history

  48. 48 kebede belay Jul 29th, 2011 at 5:13 am

    we are proud of your success;congratulation!!

  49. 49 selam Aug 8th, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    well on the contrary i envied u at first because u r living my dream!!!i am 20 years old,a mechanical engineering student and am working really hard so i could even have a shot at my dream,my dream being a very talented and devoted pilot!!!i still live for that dream and well though you became the first captain i still wish i could be the next one and even take it further!!!this is the only dream i have ever had and am still going to work super hard for it and u are the icing to the cake cause u r an inspiration!!!n i hope with God’s help i make it as far as u did n become an inspiration to others as u are for me!!!congrats!!!

  50. 50 EyerusalemBeyene Nov 13th, 2011 at 3:21 am

    Enkuan des alesh yegna konjo

  51. 51 TSEGAWIT Jan 3rd, 2012 at 4:44 am


  52. 52 Semagngeta Apr 16th, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Wow! U r an inspiration! And i am rly inspired! I am a mechanical engineering student! I always wanted 2 b a pilot n i hope i will, ofcourse if god help me, am rly honored 2 say it 2 u, Tnx, Captain!

  53. 53 Semagngeta Apr 17th, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Just perfect!

  54. 54 Hawi belay May 23rd, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Way 2 go captain!! I’m happy that i finally can say i’ve a role model.never had before.things will be great me and ma gifted sisters come up with such heroic movment in my mother land!!!stay blessed!!

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