Djibouti pilot set to become first African to fly solo around the world

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A pilot for Air Djibouti, on a mission to become the first African pilot in history to fly around the world solo, has completed the Djibouti leg of his historic journey.

Ademilola “Lola” Odujinrin departed from Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport on Monday morning, following a ceremony attended by high-level dignitaries including His Excellency Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti.

Lola’s historic journey began back in September, with a transatlantic crossing from Washington, D.C. to North Weald airfield in the United Kingdom. Since then he has been navigating European airspace, with stops in Italy, Malta and Egypt.

Odujinrin’s next stop will be Oman, before continuing onwards to Asia, Australia, the Pacific Ocean and California. In the United States, Lola intends to set a further aviation milestone with the fastest US coast-to-coast flight in a single-prop aircraft.

The flight is a key part of Project Transcend, Odujinrin’s project to inspire young people to achieve their goals regardless of their personal circumstances. The project supports carefully selected charities transforming lives on the African continent, with the support of private sector professionals.

Lola flies as a commercial pilot for the national flag carrier, Air Djibouti. The Red Sea airline re-launched earlier this year and is a key sponsor of the flight. The launch of Air Djibouti’s commercial operations is a crucial element of the Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority (DPFZA)’s strategy for establishing Djibouti as a major logistics centre for the region.

With two new airports under construction that are expected to be operational by 2019, the country is building its air transport links to complement its already well-established road, rail and maritime transport network.

 

Odujinrin says: “Fewer than 115 people have completed a solo circumnavigation of the globe by air, and it’s been my dream since my youth to join them. I hope to set a world first and inspire a generation of people in Africa and beyond.”

 

Aboubaker Omar Hadi, Chairman of Air Djibouti, says: “With the implementation of the African open sky policy, air travel in Africa is set to grow fast. Lola’s inspiring journey is an exciting landmark in African aviation, and we’re proud to be at the heart of it.”

 

 

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