Easyjet captain Kate McWilliams in the cockpit with co-pilot Luke Elsworth.
The young pilots manned a flight from London to Malta, after McWilliams earlier passed a course ascending to the rank of captain.
Their employer, the British carrier Easyjet, believes McWilliams has become the world’s youngest commercial airline captain — with co-pilot Elsworth also one of the country’s youngest co-pilots.
Of the 130,000 airline pilots worldwide, just 450 are female captains according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots
, and McWilliams has urged more women to join her ranks.
“I joined the air cadets when I was 13 where I got plenty of flying experience,” said McWilliams, who first became interested in planes after attending an air show at age four.
“I didn’t imagine a career in commercial aviation as I didn’t know any commercial pilots who I could ask for advice,” added McWilliams, who is based at London’s Gatwick Airport. “I never even thought it could be an option available to me.”