Her name is Kate McWilliams and, at the tender age of just 26, she has become the youngest airline pilot in the history of the airline industry. After finishing up EasyJet’s command pilot program, young Kate was promoted this past Sunday to Captain McWilliams. She had joined the airline as a first officer at the age of 21 and made it to command pilot in just five short years.
And, yes, she gets asked about her age all day every day but she says that, “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.”
Not only has she become the youngest airline pilot captain on Earth but she joins the ranks of other women captains who only encompass just 5% of the world’s commercial airline pilots. There are currently over 130,000 commercial airline pilots around the world. Of those, only 450 of them are women.
EasyJet hopes to lead the way in bringing along more female pilots and looks to enroll 12 potential female pilots in its command program over the next two years. Youth seems to have gripped the commercial airline industry as one of McWilliams’ co-pilots is just 19 years old and he is the youngest such commercial pilot in the United Kingdom.
She is grateful for the support she has received from both travelers and from flight crews around the world. She began to fly at the tender age of 13 and entered into the EasyJet program at just 19.
“When I tell them I am 26,” McWilliams said, “most people are pleasantly surprised and impressed with my achievement at such a young age. I would strongly urge females interested in aviation to think about pursuing a career as a pilot and any existing pilots to push themselves to become a captain.”
PHOTO CREDIT: EasyJet