Meet Captain Aluel Bol: South Sudan’s First Female Commercial Pilot 

In 1989, Captain Aluel James Bol was a refugee in Kenya. Fast forward to 2024, she went on from being a refugee in Kenya to becoming the first female commercial pilot from South Sudan. 

Captain Aluel James Bol is a 41-year-old Delta Airlines Captain. She was born in South Sudan and grew up as a refugee in Kenya.

Since her childhood, Bol has been fascinated with aviation. Growing up in a refugee camp in Kenya, Bol was intrigued by the sights of the airport and sounds of the airlines flying.

“I remember asking my father what that was, pointing at the plane,” Bol recalled. “He then proceeded to tell me it was an airplane, and I remember asking him to buy me one. He just laughed and said, ‘One day, you can fly one.’”

Born in 1983 in Lakes State, South Africa, Bol grew up as a refugee in Kenya during the civil war in South Sudan. Her father was the late Justine James Bol.

Bol’s dream of becoming a pilot was not livid enough until in 1992 when she boarded a plane to Seattle, United States.

“I remember asking my father, ‘Who drives those things?’ He told me pilots. From then on, if anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I told them a pilot. Having no idea what a pilot was, I clung to the word until I became older and understood the true meaning,” Bol said.

In 2011, Bol graduated from Florida Memorial University with a degree in aeronautical science and completing her flight training. She made history by becoming the first female pilot in South Sudan.

Following her graduation from Aviation School in the United States, Bol started working for Ethiopian Airlines late in 2011.

Bol later took up a consulting job with the South Sudanese Ministry of Transport and Roads. Bol was later made pilot for Fly Dubai, a subsidiary airline of Emirates Airlines.

In 2018, Bol made another history as she became Captain of Delta Airlines, one of the largest airline carriers in the United States.

Captain Bol receiving her Captainship Certificate from Delta Airlines

I feel extremely delighted especially at the mere thought of achieving my dream. As a child growing up, I always wanted to be a pilot and my late dad made sure that he did all what it takes to make me succeed

Captain Aluel James Bol

Black women’s representation in the airspace is not so commendable. Bol’s story is an inspiration for all young black women who aspire to become a pilot.

According to Sisters of the Skies, a professional membership organization for Black women who are pilots, there are less than 200 Black women pilots in the United States, that’s less than 1% percent of all U.S. pilots.

I hope this story inspires you. Please don’t forget to share this story to your friends, families, and colleagues.

Author: Abu Bakarr Jalloh

Abu Bakarr Jalloh is a Sierra Leonean content writer, author, Neo Pan-African and founder of The African Dream, an online platform for inspiring, positive and compelling African stories. Contact: WhatsApp: +23276211583

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