By Neil Lancefield, Press Association Transport Correspondent
A teenage girl believed to be the UK’s youngest female solo pilot is to be mentored by easyJet.
Ellie Carter made headlines in January when she flew a light aircraft alone just three days after her 16th birthday.
She will be mentored by a female captain at easyJet as part of the airline’s efforts to attract more women to become professional pilots.
Ellie, from Great Torrington, Devon, said: “I’ve been interested in physics and powered flight from as young as I can remember.
“Flying absolutely amazes me and continues to surprise me and so I can see how rewarding a career as a pilot could be.
“I hope that my story will encourage young girls to accomplish whatever they set their mind to, because if I can do it, so can they.
“I’m overwhelmed with the support I’ve had from the public and ecstatic that easyJet have offered me this opportunity which will help me on my way to pursuing the career of my dreams. I can’t wait to get started.”
Zoe Ebrey, easyJet training captain and Ellie’s mentor, said: “It’s fantastic to meet such a passionate young commercial pilot in the making.
“Ellie’s drive, determination and achievements to date are impressive and I look forward to helping her more on her journey.”
Only around 5% of airline pilots across the world are women.
EasyJet is aiming for 20% of its new trainee pilots to be women by 2020, up from 15% in 2017.
A poll of 2,000 British parents and children commissioned by the Luton-based carrier indicated that more than a quarter of young girls would consider a career as a pilot.
But the survey suggested that more than half (51%) of children believe their career choices are restricted by gender stereotypes. The figure for their parents was 66%.
EasyJet’s director of flight operations, captain David Morgan, said: “We want our people to reflect the diversity of the customers we fly and the communities in which we operate and so encouraging more girls and women to take on this hugely rewarding career is an integral part of this.
“I’m really pleased that we are currently on track for our target of ensuring 20% of our new pilot entrants are women by 2020.”