First Female Pilot in Iceland Retires After 38 Years of Flight Skip to content
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Photo: Sigríður Einarsdóttir and other female pilots of Icelandair.

First Female Pilot in Iceland Retires After 38 Years of Flight

Sigríður Einarsdóttir landed today for the last time at Keflavík International Airport.

Sigríður Einarsdóttir was the first female commercial airline pilot in Iceland. Her 38-year career paved the way for many other women in Icelandic aviation.

Her Boeing 757, designated Vatnajökull, her favourite plane to pilot according to Vísir, touched down early in the morning yesterday. Passengers reported an “exceptionally smooth” landing.

She was greeted by a reception of other female Icelandair pilots who celebrated her long, pioneering career in aviation.

Not Ready to Stop Flying

Sigríður’s career began in 1984 aboard a Fokker F27 turboprop, and three years later, on the airline’s new jets. In 1996, she became a full captain.

At her reception, Sigríður stated: “I don’t think that it’s really sunk in yet that this was the final landing. It was only on the final approach that I really realized that this had been my last flight, on a jet at least.”

Although she’s retiring, she has no intention to stop flying: “I don’t think I’m done. It’s just so much fun to fly. Now I just need to go renew my private license and get back into smaller planes.”

After her 1984 start, Sigríður recalls that she was the only female pilot for the first five years of her career. “After ten years, there were three of us,” she said. “After twenty years, the tenth woman was hired.” Now, she says, there are some 77 altogether.

Despite the progress made by Sigríður, aviation is still largely a male industry in Iceland, with 13% of Icelandic pilots being women.

“This isn’t a man’s job anymore,” she said in her farewell address. “We’ve shown and proved this.”

 

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