Her name is Kate McWilliams, and at the age of just 26, she became the youngest airline pilot in the history of the aviation industry. After completing EasyJet’s command pilot program, she was promoted to Captain McWilliams this past Sunday. She joined the airline as a first officer at the age of 21 and became a command pilot in just five short years.
Despite being asked about her age constantly, she doesn’t believe it matters much, stating, “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.”
Kate not only became the youngest airline captain on Earth, but she also joins the ranks of other women captains who make up just 5% of the world’s commercial airline pilots. There are currently over 130,000 commercial airline pilots around the world, with only 450 of them being women.
EasyJet hopes to lead the way in bringing more female pilots into the industry, with plans to enroll 12 potential female pilots in its command program over the next two years. Youth seems to have taken hold of the commercial airline industry, with one of McWilliams’ co-pilots being just 19 years old, making him the youngest commercial pilot in the United Kingdom.
McWilliams is grateful for the support she has received from both travelers and flight crews around the world. She began flying at the age of 13 and entered the EasyJet program at just 19.
“When I tell people I am 26,” said McWilliams, “most are pleasantly surprised and impressed with my achievement at such a young age. I strongly encourage women interested in aviation to consider pursuing a career as a pilot and for existing pilots to strive to become a captain.”
PHOTO CREDIT: EasyJet