Captain Irene Koki has made history as the First African Female Captain to fly Kenya Airways’ DreamLiner Aircraft after landing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) Nairobi. She is said to break another record when she flies Kenya Airway’s inaugural flight to the US in October with President Uhuru Kenyatta on board. The flight is expected to depart JKIA at 11.25 pm on October 28th and land at the John F Kennedy International Airport in New York at 6.25. A return flight will then depart JFK in NY at 12.25 pm the same day and touch the ground in Nairobi at 10.55 am the next day.
The Kenya Airways plane is expected to house 234 passengers, 30 at the business class and 204 in the economy section. They will have four pilots, 12 cabin crew members and 85 tonnes of fuel loaded one way. The national carrier began selling tickets for its inaugural direct flight in January, a ticket for economy class going for Sh89, 000 two way, while business class customers will pay Sh257,634 roundtrip.
Captain Irene was born in 1976 to a pilot father who worked with Kenya Airways, now retired and is an aviation consultant. She went to Moi Girls Nairobi for her primary and secondary education, and then proceeded to Kenya Civil Aviation Authority School at Nairobi’s Wilson Airport where she obtained her Private Pilot’s License. She later continued her piloting education in Oklahoma City in the U.S. and was awarded her Commercial Pilot’s License.
Kenya Airways appointed Koki captain of the Boeing 787 in April 2014, making her the first African female Dreamliner certified Captain in the world. For six years she was the only female pilot of the company. In December 2014, Forbes Magazine named her among the 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa 2014 and Last June, Captain Irene won the “Winner 2017 Africa Top Travel” award from her country. She has built a name for herself in her country, Africa and the World.