Continental Airlines Names Capt. Deborah McCoy Senior Vice President of Flight Operations

Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL and CAL.A) today named Capt. Deborah McCoy senior vice president of flight operations.

McCoy, a DC-10 pilot and 20-year veteran of Continental Airlines, becomes the first woman in the nation to head a major commercial airline pilot group. In this new capacity, McCoy will be responsible for more than 5,200 pilots and more than 8,700 flight attendants, including hiring, training and flight operations. She reports to C. D. McLean, Continental’s executive vice president of operations.

“Capt. McCoy is one of the best and brightest in the business. In addition to being a superior pilot, she’s an analytical thinker who knows how to get results,” said Gordon Bethune, chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Airlines. “We’re fortunate to have someone of her caliber and experience on our team.”

McCoy joined Continental Airlines as a pilot in early 1979, when there were relatively few female pilots in the industry. A DC-10 captain, McCoy was previously a captain on the DC-9, MD-80 and Airbus 300 aircraft. McCoy has been a check airman for over ten years. She also held positions as a DC-9 and MD-80 assistant fleet manager, Airbus fleet manager, and director of flight standards and training.

In late 1994, McCoy headed a newly formed operational performance department that was instrumental in significantly improving the airline’s on-time performance.


McCoy, formerly the vice president of flight training and inflight, is credited for improving Continental’s pilot and flight attendant training programs and upgrading the training facilities with state-of-the-art simulators and training devices.

While overseeing the inflight division, Continental has consistently won accolades for best customer service, and Continental flight attendants, under her purview, are rated No.1 by frequent flyers.