Meet The First Black Woman To Launch Her Own Airline

It is often said that anything a man can do, a woman can do better. One South African woman demonstrated this by launching her own airline. Sizakele Petunia Mzimela achieved the amazing feat in September 2015 when she founded Fly Blue Crane, in the process becoming the first black woman to do so. 

The businesswoman began her career with South African Airways (SAA) in 1997 as a market analyst. She rose to become SAA CEO from 2010 to 2012.

Mzimela (middle) launched her own airline in 2015. Photo: The Source

Under her leadership, SAA grew by leaps and bounds, adding eight regional routes in one year and introducing direct flights to New York and Beijing. Having served with distinction, she took an extraordinary leap of faith to venture out on her own. Fly Blue Crane, which she also heads as CEO, now has two 50-seat ERJ 145 aircraft and offers low-cost domestic flights in South Africa. 

In a recent interview, Mzimela said: "We aim to make our mark serving the increasingly commercially significant provincial and regional capitals. Our aim in the coming years is to make air travel an altogether better and more rewarding experience in Southern Africa." 

She is looking to expand to the wider southern African region. Photo: The Source

She added that her airline intends to expand into the Southern African region, including Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Democratic Republic of Congo.