A young, Papua New Guinean female pilot has made history by becoming the first woman to gain command on Dash 8 aircraft under Air Niugini’s pilot cadet program.
Captain Beverly Pakii’s achievement is the first for the airline since Air Niugini’s pilot cadet program started in the 1970s.
From mixed Enga and Morobe parentage, the 29 year old operated her first commercial flight from Port Moresby to Lihir in New Ireland and on to Tokua airport in East New Britain and back to Port Moresby.
Air Niugini CEO Simon Foo congratulated Captain Pakii saying the airline invests a lot of money and resources into training pilots and engineers every year.
“Captain Pakii has come through the system holding a very high standard throughout,” Mr Foo said. “Her dedication, commitment and humble demeanour to achieve command is demonstrated in her professional conducts in all facets.
“She is a role model to other aspiring female pilots.”
Captain Pakii started with Air Niugini as a cadet in 2004, completing her training at a flying school in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, where Air Niugini sends its cadets every year.
After completing her studies, Miss Pakii returned to Air Niugini in 2006 where she operated as First Officer on Dash 8 aircraft. After meeting the minimum hours, she underwent command practice in preparation to becoming a captain.
Beverly’s father, Captain Ted Pakii is a former Air Niugini pilot who joined the airline from the PNG Defence Force in 1994.
He operated on several aircraft types during his time, starting with Dash 7 and left after achieving his command on the Boeing 767.
Air Niugini currently has 50 cadet pilots including five women.