Monday, November 18

Captain Mercy Kinuthia

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‘‘Welcome aboard your Airkenya flight today. This is your Captain speaking’’

How long have you been with Airkenya?
Since 2008…say about three and a half years to date.
What was your first job?
I started my first job while still in high school. It was in a home for the elderly where we had to clean up their rooms, spend time with them and end the day with song, dance and lots of hugs. It was voluntary.
Do you see yourself doing this job for the rest of your life?
Hmmm…it is difficult to measure “rest of your life”, but I would want to continue being productive in my role and hang my boots when I can no longer deliver.
What was the road like to becoming a Captain?
Of course it has not been easy! Six months after joining Airkenya, I had to face negative comments from the very passengers I was ferrying. It was difficult but the experiences I had, built my character and resilience.
I remember recently I flew with a lady co-pilot into a local destination and one passenger inquired from us if we were flight attendants and where the pilot was? We smiled and calmly explained to him that he had just met his “Go-Team.” The passengers boarded and could not hide their joy on landing in Wilson by profusely thanking us for such a wonderful flight!
What exactly do you do on a normal working day?
I am required to sign in 30 minutes before the flight as the commander, but I prefer being there 15 minutes earlier. This gives me the opportunity to check my flight paperwork (load sheet etc), plan with my FO (First Officer) the right amount of fuel, weather conditions and ensure all other flight preparation procedures are completed.
I would either conduct an aircraft walk around or go through the preflight inspection procedures to ensure the aircraft is serviceable (i.e. it can fly) and then give clearance to board passengers. Once boarding is completed and all the paperwork is ready and doors are shut, I would turn to face my passengers to welcome them and give details of the flight not forgetting a safety brief. There is always uniqueness in all flight sectors, nothing is ever the same!
Where do you see yourself five years down the road?
To reflect back on the lessons learned and successes in life…and definitely command a larger aircraft.
How would you describe yourself?
A Kenyan who enjoys networking with a keen sense of humor and most of all, fun loving.
If you were an animal which would it be and why?
A Dolphin – intelligent and social and I must add…from Wasini Island right here in Kenya.
What have been your achievements so far in your life?

I successfully completed flying and earned a Commercial Pilots License and then proceeded to train in Ground School before joining Airkenya.
What was the turning point of your life? Why do you feel it is significant?

When I completed my studies in “Bush” (Alliance Girls), I knew I wanted to be a pilot but I had no idea where I was going to get the money from. I was elated, to put it mildly, when my grandmother announced that she would assist me financially in realising my dream.
She had already sponsored 3 siblings in our family to do piloting with no success and I was the only ray of hope she had, as she passionately believed that one of her family members would pull through and become a pilot.
Why this career?
May be you should have asked, “Why not this career?” I just love flying.
What are your hobbies?
Dancing and biking
Being the second ever Lady Captain in Air Kenya’s history since 1985, what would be your advice to someone who wants to get to where you are?
People will discourage you from pursuing a male dominated career and do not expect kind words from everyone. Be persistent in what you want in life and God will bless your journey. Let people know you for who you are and not what they want you to be. Hold on to your principals in life and lastly, always put God first…I have a prayer before I start my journey.

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