African women are consistently breaking new grounds and towering in all sectors across the continent. One such power woman is Sizakele Petunia Mzimela, a South African Amazon who is shattering glass ceilings in the aviation industry as the first black woman to launch her own airline.
In September 2015, Mzimela, who is widely referred to as Siza, launched her airline at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in South Africa. The airline currently has two 50-seat ERJ 145s and offers low-cost domestic flights within the South African region.
However, Mzimela has her eyes on the big goal; she hopes to expand her coverage to include destinations to Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the near future. The power woman is also the founder and executive chairperson of Blue Crane Aviation, an aviation services company that focuses on African airlines and provides airline consulting, aviation legal services, and aircraft management services to give African airlines sufficient room to thrive in the global market.
In 1997, the leading lady started out with SAA as a market analyst, and has also been appointed as the first female to join the International Air Transport Association’s board of directors in 67 years. Armed with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and statistics from the University of Swaziland, Mzimela serves as a board member of the South African Tourism Board, as well as the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.
Prior to launching Fly Blue Crane airlines, the aviation magnate served as the first female CEO of South African Airways from April 1, 2010 to Oct. 8, 2012. Under her leadership, for the first time in SAA history, the company introduced direct flights to New York and Beijing, China. The airline also grew its regional network by adding eight additional routes in one year.
Mzimela desired to offer quality to her customers and thereby gain their trust. This, she realized is more rewarding than every other business strategy. The company is also poised to deliver top-notch services, on-time performance and commitment to excellence‚ with advanced online technologies that will make booking and travel process hitch-free.
Fly Blue Crane operates modern and fuel-efficient 50-seater Embraer Regional Jet 145 (ERJ) aircraft in a single class setting, using interchangeable parts and tools, to allow for quick aircraft turnaround times and maximum crew synergies.