'In flying, there's no gender': PAL's female pilots on historic first all-female flight crew

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 19) — Only five percent of the pilots across the globe are women, while female pilots account for merely seven percent of the total in Philippine Airlines, said Captain Yvonne Sunga.

This is why having flown a widebody aircraft with other female pilots on board had been a "very rare" opportunity, she told CNN Philippines News.PH on Monday.

Sunga, along with First Officer May Marie Segovia and Second Officer Marie Rose Ison Maximo, flew through the glass ceiling on Oct. 14 as PAL's first all-female flight crew to man a widebody aircraft. The flight was for the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

"Rare 'yun mangyari dahil si Ma'am Yvonne lang ang kapitan na babae [in PAL], and then there are only several first officer lady pilots, so talagang mahirap makumpleto ang tatlo sa isang flight," Maximo said.

[Translation: That's a rare occurrence since Ma'am Yvonne is the lone female pilot captain in PAL, and there are only several first officer lady pilots, so it's really difficult to have three female pilots in one flight.]

Sunga and Maximo are former flight attendants, while Segovia is a former military pilot.

While pointing out the glaring discrepancy in the female to male ratio in the aviation industry, the three also stressed that gender ultimately plays no part in one's ability to man an aircraft.

Comparing to that of their male counterparts, Segovia said there's no difference in the kind of work done, and that they just focus on performing their jobs well.

"In flying, there's no gender," Sunga also said. "We get the same training, we get the same tests, and what's important is that as long as there is respect between male and female, for me gender is not an issue."