From Iceland — Mother and Daughter Flying High in the Same Company

Mother and Daughter Flying High in the Same Company

Published March 9, 2023

Photo by - Ljósmynd/Aðsend

Icelandair is one of the few airlines in the world to boast a mother-daughter pilot duo. Birna Katrín Gunnlaugsdóttir, 23, recently followed in the footprint her mother, Linda Gunnarsdóttir, by joining Icelandair as a domestic pilot, reports. An experienced pilot, Linda is the company’s chief air traffic controller and responsible for its team of 500 pilots for international flights.

Birna Katrín has always known that she wanted to become a pilot, having made up her mind at the age of five — she even has a business card she made in kindergarten that reads “Birna Katrín Gunnlaugsdóttir pilot.” The passion for flying runs in the family, as Linda’s father, Gunnar Þorvaldsson, was also an air traffic controller, making Birna the third generation to take to the skies.

Woman at the wheel

Despite the limited number of female pilots in the aviation industry, Linda believes that positive developments have been made in recent years. She recalls that when she was hired in 1996, there were only four female pilots in Icelandair. Today, 13% of the airline’s pilots are female. “Mixed workplaces are the best,” says Linda, who hopes that more women will be encouraged to join the aviation industry.

Linda also notes that attitudes towards women in the industry have improved enormously over the years. She has made many great memories and encourages more women to become pilots. Although it may be a while before Linda and Birna Katrín take to the skies together, Linda beams with pride knowing that her daughter is living her dream.

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