People

First woman to fly into London

Captain Maria Atanassova had always wanted to be a pilot.
Captain Maria Atanassova had always wanted to be a pilot. ST FILE PHOTO

Ladies and gentlemen, your captain is (gasp!) a woman.

Captain Maria Atanassova, 35, piloted Bulgarian carrier Tabso flight LZ130 from Sofia, Bulgaria, into London - stunning British airport staff. A British Ministry of Aviation official told reporters: "We do not keep a record of the sex of pilots... As far as we can discover, she's the first woman to have flown a large commercial airliner into London Airport."

Captain Atanassova, a Bulgarian, had been flying for 17 years - without any accident.

"I have always wanted to be a pilot," she said. "The passengers never have to worry if they do find out they have a woman pilot."

A flight steward said: "She's wonderful, much better than some of the men."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 04, 2015, with the headline 'First woman to fly into London'. Print Edition | Subscribe