A Nigerian-born pilot for Air Djibouti Ademilola “Lola” Odujinrin has made history by becoming the first African pilot to fly solo around the world.
In a statement, the Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority (DPFZA) said that Odujinrin had completed the final leg of his historic journey, landing safely at Washington Dulles International Airport.
“The pilot has completed the entire circumnavigation in a Cirrus SR22, stopping in more than 15 countries on five continents, returning to Washington DC, where his journey began back in September,” the statement said.
The flight was part of Project Transcend, a foundation which aimed to inspire young people to achieve their goals regardless of their personal circumstances.
Odujinrin, who has logged 4 000 hours as a commercial Boeing 737 pilot since his pilot license six years ago said: “Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of one day flying around the world. We have a responsibility to lead by example and follow our dreams. I want African children to think: ‘I can do this too!’.
“I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Air Djibouti’s Chairman, Aboubaker Omar Hadi, and Cardiff Aviation’s Chairman, Bruce Dickinson, who have supported me throughout this journey. Without them this would not have been possible,” said Odujinrin.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of Air Djibouti Aboubaker Omar Hadi said that with such an initiative the state-owned airline was hoping to inspire “a new generation of pilots in Africa and help to pave the way for the aviation industry to thrive in the region.
“The benefits will be felt within the region, as this will encourage more intra-African trade and sustainable economic development”.