UAE Has Launched The First All-Female Operated Airline In The World


Some more good news for women in the aviation world – the very first all-female operated airline has been launched in the United Arab Emirates, becoming the first airline of its kind on the planet!

The airline is owned by a private company, LGO International FZC, headed up by CEO Emmanuel Dubuisson who told the idea was to cater to more conservative families in the region, as well as women who prefer the idea of a woman-only service. Sorry men, but you are completely barred from this airline.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline will employ women in all aspects of the day-to-day running of operations, from fitting out the aircraft to on-board services in order to raise the profile of women in the region. Aside from catering to women in the region, the CEO says female passengers can choose from pink or black interiors, and can also have the option of a shower, bathroom, cinema and games room. They want to make sure their female clientele are happy with every aspect of their experience.

“If a particular customer cares more about the number of years of experience of the pilot than his or her gender, then LGO International will focus on this requirement. The needs of the customer come first,” said Emmanuel.

Women have the choice of either renting or buying one of the planes. Each jets cost anywhere from $2 million for a private jet to $300 million for a Boeing 747. Depending on the trip taken, it can cost a passenger anywhere from $3500 to $10,000. The actual aircraft is manufactured by French company Dassault Falcon Middle East whose general manager Renaud Cloâtre expressed excitement about venturing into this untapped market of an exclusively-female airline.


“I think it is a great concept and is ideal in this market where there is gap to cater to business-savvy gulf women. We sell a lot of aircraft in the region and this year we’re expecting to sell even more than we did last year, many of whom, we’re hoping will be women,” he said.

Gulf News spoke to some business women from UAE to find out whether this type of airline would even interest them.

“I think this is a good idea and it wouldn’t only work here in the UAE, but in the wider region including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as they are more conservative,” said fashion designer Maitha Belhabb, pointing out how the conservative culture becomes ripe for businesses like this which not only elevate the status of women, but do so in a way that doesn’t offend their cultural sensibilities.

The only problem she could foresee is if bigger commercial airlines in the region start offering the same type of service and make the market more competitive.

Kuwaiti fashion designer Mashael Al Mutawa is optimistic that the all-female airline will be well received in the region, and as a woman who travels for business she can definitely see the benefits.

“I only travel a couple of times a year, but I’m sure this new service will benefit a big category of women in our society, especially conservative families, who will find it easier for their women to travel on their own. Personally, I think this sort of an airline will provide a more comfortable atmosphere for me, especially during long flights,” she said.


Another woman who travels for work, Dr Shurooq Amin, who is an artist and professor at Kuwait University said this was a great way to empower women in the Gulf region even if it is met with resistance.

“It is definitely an interesting concept for me and I’d certainly want to give it a try and see how I like it. Every new idea is met with resistance. As an artist I am used to that. The people behind this innovative idea should have absolute belief in their concept,” she said.

The only aspect of the airline she didn’t find so appealing was the option for an all-pink interior, citing the same sentiments many of us here in the West have when it comes to gender stereotyping.

“Women who are independent and strong are going to want more options in their palette choice. We are not all walking Barbies,” she said.

It’s not the first time we are seeing take to the skies and breaking through the gender barriers in an industry traditionally reserved for men. During the last week of November 2015, Ethiopian Airlines flew all-female crews between Addis Ababa and Bangkok, Thailand to promote female empowerment. From the ground operations crew to the pilots and every job in between, women worked on every aspect of the flight to not only increase the visibility of women in the aviation industry, but to inspire other women to join their ranks.


Air Zimbabwe also managed its own feminist feat around the same time, by flying an all-female crew from Harare to Victoria Falls, a first in that airline’s history.

There are certainly great strides being made not just in the commercial aviation sector, but in the military sector as well. Countries like China, Pakistan, and Thailand have produced a crop of barrier-breaking women determined to create more opportunities for themselves as well as other women that may come in their wake.

A report from Women of Aviation dating from 1960 – 2010 shows that only 6.73% of pilots were women in the US in the year 2010. American Airlines became the first airline ever to hire a female pilot in 1973. The numbers are still incredibly low when it comes to the representation of women in aviation globally, but the more young girls can see role models flying planes and being involved in every aspect of a job that is typically thought of as occupied only by men, perhaps we will see the number of women start to soar (pun intended!).

To see an airline created just for women in the Gulf region means the opening of more opportunities for employment. We hope to see more forward-thinking entrepreneurs like Emmanuel Dubuisson helping to pave the way for women.



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  1. Pingback: South Africa-Based Fly Blue Crane Is The First Airline Started By A Black Woman - GirlTalkHQ

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