Former Flight Attendant Becomes First Black Female Pilot For a Commercial Airline in Ivory Coast

Aya Gertrude Konan became the Ivory Coast’s first Black female commercial airline pilot. She was once a flight attendant and now works as a First Officer at Air Côte D’Ivoire, flying the Airbus A320.

Konan, who began her employment as a flight attendant in April 2013, had bigger goals. Growing up in Ivory Coast, she had a passion for planes and aspired to be a pilot since childhood, according to Rising Africa.

She persevered despite financial difficulties caused by the high cost of pilot training. Her opportunity came in 2014, when Air Côte D’Ivoire held a competition to train young Ivorians for professions in aviation, including piloting. She took advantage of the opportunity and applied right away.

After arduous testing in topics such as Math, Physics, and English, Konan emerged as one of just 15 chosen candidates from 1500 applicants. Furthermore, she was the only woman among them. She then received extensive academic and practical training in Côte d’Ivoire and France.

After two years and four months of hard effort, Konan became Ivory Coast’s first state-trained female civilian airline pilot. She is currently a First Officer for Air Côte D’Ivoire, operating the Airbus A320 and is qualified to fly the Bombardier Dash Q400.

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