Etihad Airway's all-female flight deck on International Women's Day Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Etihad Airways marked International Women’s Day with its first flight staffed by an all-female crew, highlighting the integral role played by its female workforce.

More than 30 women, from pilots to cabin crew, and engineers to load controllers and flight dispatchers, were involved in flight EY017 from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow on Friday. French Captain Sophie Blanchard and Irish Captain Faela Stevenson piloted the Airbus A380 along with First Officers Pirre Susana Leese from Finland and Liesbeth Baldewijns from Belgium.

The flight deck worked hand in hand with the 19-member all-female cabin crew team from 13 nationalities on the flight of 398 guests.

Etihad Airway's all-female flight deck on International Women's Day Image Credit: Supplied

Ameenah Taher, Vice-President of Corporate Affairs at Etihad Aviation Group, said: “At Etihad, we don’t just connect places - we connect people. On International Women’s Day, we’re so proud to have thousands of strong, ambitious and talented women working with us across the entire value chain both above and below the wing.”

Women landing in Abu Dhabi were treated to a welcome card and flowers to mark the occasion, while guests travelling outbound from Abu Dhabi on board Etihad Airways flights heard a welcome announcement on board celebrating the day.

Artwork was also on display throughout the city featuring four inspirational female Etihad members of staff. They included pictures of Fatima Al Kharousi, the Head of Terminal Operations, First Officer Flavia Lucilio, one of Etihad’s 78 female pilots, Carmen Paraschiv, Duty Manager in the airline’s Network Operations Centre, and Sara Hasan Al Hashmi, a Technical Engineering Trainee.

The four women represent a handful of the 150-plus nationalities in the airline and showcase just a small cross-section of the career paths within the company.

International Women’s Day, March 8, is also the anniversary of the first woman to receive a pilot’s licence: French aviator Elise Raymonde de Laroche in 1910, making it a doubly appropriate day for Etihad’s all-female achievement in the skies.