The Aviatrix: How Kate McWilliams became world's youngest commercial female airline captain

Meet the world's youngest commercial female airline captain Kate McWilliams

Kate McWilliams flies Airbus A319 and A320 (Getty)

Monday, September 26, 2016

EasyJet believes one of its pilots is the world's youngest ever commercial female airline captain.

Kate McWilliams is 26 years old and flies to around 100 destinations across the world, such as Iceland, Israel and Morocco.

Currently around 5% of commercial pilots are women, but last year EasyJet announced a plan to increase the percentage of women joining the flying staff to 12% over the next two years.

But how did she get into the role?

McWilliams is from Carlisle, but now lives in Reigate because of its proximity to Gatwick Airport. 

She began flying at the age of 13 with the air cadets, but told the Press Association she never thought she'd be a commercial pilot.

The captain said when she was growing up she "never even thought it could be an option".

Then, at just 16 years old, she completed her first solo flight.

She took up training at CTC Aviation in Southampton when she turned 19. Following this she joined EasyJet in 2011 as a first officer (also known as a co-pilot or second pilot).

She's now passed the airline's command course, and taken up her position as captain.

Flying Airbus A319 and A320, she explained her "roster is very varied so I rarely fly to the same place twice in the same month."

Passengers and cabin crew regularly ask for her age, but McWilliams claims "When I tell them I'm 26, most people are pleasantly surprised and impressed with my achievement at such a young age".

Last week she flew to Malta alongside 19-year-old Luke Elsworth, who earlier this year became the UK's youngest pilot.