Malawi has made history by holding the first ever global women pilots conference in Africa for female pilots under the Ninety-Nines.
The Ninety-Nines is an international organisation for women pilots globally which provides networking, mentoring and flight scholarship opportunities to recreational as well as professional female pilots.
The female pilots were in the country from October 18 to 25 during which time they visited Lake Malawi and other tourist attraction sites and held several activities.
The conference organiser Ivana Alvarez, who is a pilot for First Capital Bank, said the local conference attracted 77 female pilots from all over the world.
“We are delighted to host the conference, being the first time for such a high profile event to take place in the country,” she said.
Prior to the main conference, which was held at The Makokola Retreat in Mangochi, the female pilots were treated to a welcome cocktail at Malawi Sun Hotel in Blantyre followed by a trip to Mulanje Mountain and Makandi Tea Estate in Thyolo.
They also had a dinner and dance, watched cultural dances around Lake Malawi before flying to Mount Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania where they also visited places of interest.
One of the pilots, Royce Marshall from the United Kingdom, said on arrival at Chileka International Airport that the grouping was formed by 99 women pilots who had attended an inaugural meeting in New York, United States of America.
She said: “A meeting was called for female pilots back then and at that time over 100 women were invited but only 99 attended. So they decided to call it by that name.”
According to Marshall, the group was inducted into the International Air and Space Hall of Fame in 2014.
The Ninety-Nines: International Organisation of Women Pilots, also known as The 99s, was founded on November 2 1929 in New York. All 117 women pilots at the time were invited to assemble for mutual support, the advancement of aviation and to create a central office to keep files on women in aviation but only 99 attended.
As of 2018, there were 155 Ninety-Nines chapters worldwide.