Christine Bonbankal Njeuma: The First Of Her Kind

She became Cameroon’s first ever airliner female pilot in 2002 when she was recruited by the defunct national carrier, Camair – today, Camair-Co.

 

The civil aviation/aeronautical professions in Cameroon are still largely dominated by men, though a handful of women are beginning to make inroads. Amongst them is Christine Bonbankal Njeuma, Cameroon’s pioneer female airline pilot, who, in 2002 at 29, was recruited from 11 candidates by Cameroon Airlines, the defunct national carrier. Christine Njeuma hails from Bakweriland in Fako Division of the South West Region. Today, she is with Cameroon Airlines Corporation, Camair-Co, which took over from Camair on March 28, 2011.

Following her recruitment by Camair, Christine undertook more rigorous training after which she was now allowed to fly. She began with small Beachcraft commercial planes between Douala and Yaounde, and also from Douala to Malabo in Equatorial Guinea. Today, she flies every airline pilot’s dream aircraft, the Boeing 747-A. “Brains, not breasts, fly planes,” she told crowds after landing the job with Camair in 2002. Previously, she served as a Fokker 28 pilot with Air Leasing and CHC Global Operations.

Christine Bonbankal Njeuma graduated in Aviation in April 2001 from the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, USA. She also obtained a Master's degree in Airline Operations and Safety from the same school. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Spanish from the University of Florida, Gainesville, USA. Just like her mother, Prof. Dorothy Njeuma, Christine has been a great lawn tennis player. She was national champion from 1995 to 1997, representing Cameroon at several international tournaments.

 

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