Air Namibia's Captain, Cornelia Hahn, is the first female to make the transition from flying a Beechcraft B1900 to an Airbus for Air Namibia. So how did Captain Hahn go from flying a 19-passenger aircraft capable of flying 970km to flying a 244 passenger aircraft capable of 13 45km?
Training from B1900 to Boeing 737
Captain Hahn became a commercial pilot 20 years ago. In 1999 she joined Air Namibia as a First Officer on domestic routes on the Beechcraft B1900. She completely submersed herself in every aspect of the aviation industry, which in 2001 led her to earn the rank of Captain on the Beechcraft B1900. Then in March 2003, she then underwent further training to become First Officer on a Boeing 737. In April 2008, she became the first female Captain of the regional fleet of the Boeing 737 for Air Namibia.
Then from Boeing to Airbus
Captain Hahn then received training to operate the Airbus A319-100 in Zürich, Switzerland, which she operated for two and a half years starting April 2012. Air Namibia leased two Airbus A330-200’s with a total passenger capacity of 244 seats, to service the Windhoek - Frankfurt route in 2013. After she successfully completed her simulator training, she became the first female Captain for Air Namibia's Airbus A330-200.
Cornelia has shown great determination and character to do so well in this male-dominated industry. Her love for aviation has driven her to succeed to the highest level while raising two small children simultaneously. She knew that it would be a challenge to reach her current position but with the full support of her husband she was up for the task. When she was asked about what kept her focused she said she was proud to be inspiring young people, especially young women, to pursue their dream of becoming a pilot. Captain Hahn said, “My achievements show them that it does not need to be a dream. With dedication and focus, they can make it happen.” She explained that being a mom means that she not only needs the support of her family, but she also needs to be organised so that the family’s daily routine continues when she is not at home.
Captain Hahn’s advice to young women who wish to join the aviation industry; “Believe in yourself. Keep on working hard and never give up.”