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Aer Lingus' first female pilot retires

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Published Mon, May 31 2010 7:24 PM

Aer Lingus passed another significant milestone in its long history last week with the retirement of its first female pilot, Capt. Grainne Cronin.

Grainne joined Aer Lingus in 1977 and made her first flight on a B737 aircraft the following year.


Reflecting on the time she joined the company she said last week that "It wasn't easy, I have to say, entering such a male-dominated arena but Aer Lingus were very forward thinking for the time, they were the second airline in Europe, after SAS, to introduce female pilots. British Airways did not hire any female pilots for at least a further seven or eight years. In 1978 and 1979, two more female pilots joined and we flew the flag for the female race for the next 10 years."


On 2nd August 1988, the first all-female Aer Lingus crew operated a flight from Dublin to Shannon with Grainne in command and First Officer Elaine Egan on board the airline's landmark flight.

To mark this historic occasion, Captain Elaine Egan and First Officer Shelley Gahan joined Grainne on Tuesday last, May 25, as she completed her final flight as an Aer Lingus Captain on an Airbus A330 aircraft, operating flight EI 137 from Dublin to Boston.


Grainne Cronin is the daughter of retured Aer Lingus Capt. Felim Cronin. Her husband, sister Caroline and daughters are also pilots.

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