Gráinne Cronin

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Gráinne Cronin
Bornc. 1953
Ennis, County Clare
Aviation career
Known forFirst woman pilot for Aer Lingus

Gráinne Cronin (born about 1953) was the first woman to become a pilot for Aer Lingus and the first woman pilot commercially employed in Ireland.[1][2]


Born to pilot captain Felim Cronin in Ennis, County Clare, Cronin's sister Caroline is also a commercial pilot. Her husband is also as pilot and her daughters Alana and Louisa Johnston both hold private pilots licences, and Louisa has a commercial licence.[3] She learned to fly while she was at university in her father's Piper Cub. Rather than teach her to fly, her father asked his first officer Neil Johnston. Johnston taught her to fly and later married Cronin. She lives in Malahide, Ireland.[4][5][6]


Cronin was hired as a pilot by Aer Lingus in 1977. When she first joined in 1975, at the age of 22, it was as a flight attendant. But by the time she was 24 she went for flight training in Oxford. Her first flight was in January 1978. Initially working as a co-pilot, in 1988 she became the airline's first woman captain. She retired on 25 May 2010. SAS were the first European airline to hire a woman pilot and Aer Lingus were the second. Within the next two years they had hired another two women. Though it seems to have taken a long time to get to this point, British Airways didn't hire their first woman pilots for about another 6 years.[3][4][7]


  1. ^ "First female Aer Lingus pilot retires". Rte. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  2. ^ Diarmaid Ferriter (1 November 2012). Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s. Profile Books. ISBN 1-84765-856-3.
  3. ^ a b Ken Murray (26 May 2010). "Permission to land first woman Aer Lingus pilot retires". Irish Times. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Gerry Byrne (5 June 2010). "Touchdown after years of landmarks in the air". Irish Times. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  5. ^ "1988 Archives". On This Day. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  6. ^ "Flashback 1988: First all-female crew leaves Dublin". Independent. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  7. ^ "History-making pilot disembarks". Independent. Retrieved December 4, 2016.