Thomas Cook Airlines flies all-female crew for International Women’s Day 2018

Thomas Cook Airlines flies all-female crew for International Women’s Day 2018

…and launches scholarship for future female pilots in honour of Raymonde de Laroche

8 March 2018: Thomas Cook Airlines has operated an all-female crew on International Women’s Day 2018 and today launches its first scholarship for future female pilots.

The Captain, First Officer and seven crew for the flight from Manchester to Gran Canaria at 08:40 this morning were all female, as well as engineers and ground staff from Manchester Airport and NATS air traffic controllers who cleared the A321 aircraft with 212 customers on board for take-off.

L-R, standing: Cabin crew Kelly Adrio, Susanne Johnston, Lindsay Dixon, Victoria Starkey, Stephanie Ashall, Faye Emanuel, Victoria Britland.
L-R, seated: First Officer Berglind Rafnsdsttir-Teasdale, Captain Jane Paros.


Thomas Cook Airlines has also announced today that it is partnering with FTEJerez to attract more women to piloting. The scholarship will be co-sponsored by Thomas Cook and FTEJerez and is in  of Elise Raymonde de Laroche, a French pilot and the first woman ever to receive a pilot’s licence, 108 years ago on this day, 8 March, 1910.

The scholarship is open for female applicants to be trained at FTEJerez as part of the Thomas Cook Airlines Mentored Cadet Pilot Training Programme. Female pilots entering this programme will be eligible to apply for the €30,000 scholarship which will be offset against their training costs at FTEJerez. The scholarship will run every year for the next five years.

Paul Hutchings, UK Managing Director and Group Airline Director of Operations at Thomas Cook Airlines says, “With International Women’s Day today and Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, there was no better time to fly an all-female crew and highlight that our industry is for men and women. We want to raise awareness of the many opportunities to build a career and encourage more young girls and women into the aviation industry.

“We’ve had a positive working relationship with FTEJerez over a number of years. Our scholarship ensures that Thomas Cook Airlines supports and raises awareness among women who may never have considered becoming a pilot, to train and begin what is a very rewarding career path.”

Today’s flight was captained by Jane Paros, who has been flying since 1990 and is also a training captain for Thomas Cook Airlines, with First Officer Berglind Rafnsdóttir-Teasdale. First Officer Victoria McCarthy also joined the flight on Thursday to talk to customers on board. The crew comprised Victoria Starkey, Faye Emanuel, Lindsay Dixon, Stephanie Ashall, Susanne Johnston, Victoria Britland and Kelly Adrio.

First Officer Berglind Rafnsdóttir-Teasdale is also a member of the pilot recruiting team at Thomas Cook Airlines and conducts both pilot interviews and simulator training. “I think historically, people have seen pilots as being men. We need more women to challenge norms and keep our industry moving forward,” she said. “It’s not just pilots but engineers and other roles in the industry too. We need to go to schools, talk to girls and young women about the options available to them and show the many career opportunities in aviation and aerospace.”

FTEJerez CEO, Oscar Sordo said, “We share Thomas Cook Airlines’ goal of attracting more female pilots to the profession and are ed to part-sponsor the scholarship for female pilots.”

The Thomas Cook Mentored Cadet Pilot Training Programme will open for applications on 16th March 2018. Further details can be found on the FTEJerez website




Thomas Cook Group Airlines

Thomas Cook Group Airlines, part of Thomas Cook Group, is one of Europe’s leading airlines, consisting of three sun and beach focused leisure airlines: Thomas Cook Airlines UK, Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia and Condor in Germany. In spring 2018 the newly-founded sister airline, Thomas Cook Airlines Balearics will join the group in Palma de Majorca. The airlines carry 18.5m customers per year to more than 160 destinations, generating revenues of £3.2bn. The combined fleet consists of 100 aircraft. More than 9,000 employees in four countries work passionately every day to be the world’s most loved leisure airline.



With 30 years at the forefront of flight training in Europe and more than 2,000 graduated pilots who now fly for the world’s leading airlines, FTEJerez has established itself as one of the leading and most exclusive flight training organisations, specialising in ab initio ATPL training programmes for aspiring airline pilots. Over the years, FTEJerez has built and consolidated a range of first-class aviation training services, ranging from the aforementioned airline pilot training to a complete portfolio of air traffic control training, RPAS courses and bespoke pilot training solutions for our airline partners.