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How young can an airline captain be?


World’s youngest-ever captain takes to skies, aged 26
Airline passengers may no longer feel so assured that the captain flying their plane has many years of experience – especially in an era where carriers in the Nordics, Europe, Asia and elsewhere are struggling to find enough pilots.
British pilot Kate McWilliams has become the world’s youngest-ever commercial airline captain, aged just 26, flying for low-cost airline easyJet. “I get asked how old I am on an almost daily basis”, she confesses.
She began flying aged 13 in the UK’s Royal Air Force air cadets before starting a training program in commercial aviation on her 19th birthday.
McWilliams joined easyJet as a first officer in May 2011 and recently began flying as a captain after passing the airline’s command course. She is based at London’s Gatwick Airport, flying A319 and A320 aircraft to around 100 destinations, such as Reykjavik, Tel Aviv and Marrakesh.
“Personally I don’t think my age matters. I’ve been through the same training and passed the same command course as every other captain so I’ve proven myself capable regardless of my age,” she says.
Only 5% of commercial pilots are women. easyJet aims to double its own proportion of female new entrants to 12% by the end of next year.
PA / The Independent


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