Felicia positions herself at the Airside of the airport and waves her pair of bats during the day or wangs at night to signal pilots to park. This, she does, in her reflective jacket, safety boot and ear defenders to marshal aircrafts to the bay.
That is the work of the passionate Ms Felicia Edem Attipoe, an Aircraft Marshaller at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra who has just been recognized as the Most Inspiring Woman in Aviation.
Saturday, September 14, 2019, was a highlight eve for Ms Felicia who was celebrated as the ‘Most Inspiring Woman in Aviation’ at Ghana’s Most Inspiring Women’s Award event held at Golden Tulip Hotel in Accra.
As part of the aircraft ground-handling activities, she gives signals to the pilots to turn left or right, slow down, stop, and shut down engines.
Although the profession is a male-dominated area, Ms Attipoe is among the first women in Ghana who have defied the odds to rub shoulders with the men as aircraft marshallers, walks with over eight years experience and still committed to her work.
Describing her melt down, Ms Felicia shared a motivating story on social media thanking God for a successful journey. “I give thanks and glory to the almighty God for how far He has brought me.”
She also dedicated the award to her late mother “I dedicate this award to my mum who passed 13th September 2005, 14 years ago.”
“I was employed at Ghana Civil aviation authority (GCAA) in 1999 as a secretary. Life was good as a young single mum at the age of 23. I worked for 8 or so years and left the country with my husband outside the country. I took 4 years leave without pay to go study. As faith could find me I came home with a "lost marriage" and a broken home. Fortunately I had my job back and was transferred to the Ramp section as a secretary. (Marshallers Office) an Aircraft Marshaller is someone who park planes... It's a man's job . I was then going through my divorce process in court. I come to work so confused and with a lot of pain and bitterness. Sometimes I even have to go to court before coming to work. It was painful..I had no life.. bitterness and pain engulfed me. That story of the selling of Koko on the street and at the train station would be told later. A student at African University College of Communication (AUCC) another story,” she added sighting her experience in the field, lost hopes and battles won to motivate aspiring young women.
While her journey couldn’t have ended there, Ms Felicia adds that “Finally I got interested in this Job.. Marshallering. I was able to convince my Boss to be part.. Fortunately I was added to the trainees for the job. I failed 3 times. All I needed was just 50 percent. I never gave up. A mist my divorce case at the court, selling Koko and schooling at the same time to get a degree, I made the pass mark. I passed. One of the first Female Aircraft Marshaller in Ghana.
Glory to God.”
Felicia Edem Attipoe also gives take-off and landing clearance to airplanes and helicopters. When she is not busy parking planes, she uses her influence to raise funds for struggling mothers, an activity she's happy to undertake occasionally to support single parents like herself.