American Airlines instead. She was the first to be accepted to El Al but she didn’t go. I met her in New York
once, and I thanked her. I told her my success was because of her.
Women Flying for
royal Jordanian airlines,
ethiad and more.
Israel is not alone in the Middle east when
it comes to women flying for its airline. rola
Hoteit is the first and only female pilot in
the history of Middle east airlines, in Leba-
non. She’s a captain, flying for 16 years now.
There’s also Samar Oran, who joined roy-
al Jordanian airlines in 1978, along with
Captain Mavis uzzaizia of Jordan, who started flying in 1993, and Captain
Carol rabadi started with royal Jordanian airlines in 1999. according to ex-
pert Liz Moscrop, co-author of 100 Greatest Women in Aviation, there is a re-
gional branch of the International aviation
Women’s association (Ia Wa) in Dubai that
boasts more than 100 local members.
In the united arab emirates 24-year-old
Salma al beloushi is the first female emirati first officer for an airline. al beloushi said
she has been fascinated by two things during her growing years—airports and hospitals. after a year-and-a-half at nursing school, she decided to pursue her dream of flying. at that time, she had
never been on an aircraft before.
“My mother has been very supportive and so has the rest of my family,”
said al beloushi. “Sometimes I had to tolerate teasing by the boys. They would
joke about how I am going to make a great coffee and juice server. but once I
put my uniform on, it changed everything.” al beloushi said she decided to apply for the pilot training program after seeing etihad’s advertisement in a local
paper. She joined etihad in 2007 as part of the airline’s second group of cadet
pilots and received her wings in 2009 as a second officer.
The cadets must complete 750 hours of classroom tuition and 205 hours
flight training to gain the frozen airline Transport Pilots License (a TPL). .
Shareefa al bloushi, from abu Dhabi, is a member of etihad’s tenth group
of cadets, which recently started the 18 month training programme at the Horizon Flight academy in al ain. She is also the sixth female emirati cadet pilot,
and eighth female overall to join the program. etihad’s expanding female pilot
community includes 15 female first officers and cadet pilots within its ranks. ✈
What airplanes have you flown with the airline?
I flew the Boeing B737 in the beginning, and now
I fly first officer on the Boeing B747-400, which I am
in love with. As far as the work environment is concerned, it matters who you are, but, as long as you do
your job captains don’t mind.
Are there other women working in the cockpit today?
There is another woman pilot. But I haven’t seen a
woman technician or engineer yet.
Where are El Al’s newest women pilots coming from?
So, now the Israeli air force does train women pilots. They also train women in all other fields….but it
doesn’t show yet at the airline. It is still probably new.
What do you love most about the job?
Well, I love the equipment, the places I go, the view
I see. I love that it is not an office. You have some
400+ passengers you are taking care of. I wish, but
I don’t have a straight answer. It is special. It is exciting every time—sunrises, moonrises…..
I remember once at university, I was calculating
some kind of integrals or something, and I found myself thinking about flying. Funny, I never found myself thinking about integrals in the air.
What advice can you give to other women interested
In Israel, definitely go to the air force. It is the easiest way to become a pilot. You could keep flying for the
reserves if you don’t want to become an airline pilot.
I think, unfortunately, women in the middle east
need to use the resources that the west gives them. It
is just so much more reasonable for accumulating the
flying time and the experience.
The scholarship really did help, and I
am not alone. I have another friend who
got her instrument rating with a scholarship. And I gave her a membership in
WAI. She’s a flight attendant for El Al.
Women usually help other women. Especially with financial support. My first
flying school had a woman running it.
You need some money, and time. And
a good order for things. Get the money,
get the certificates, then do other things.
If I had to say my mistake was trying to
do everything at the same time. And it
doesn’t hurt to do it young. You want to
be a pilot as young as you can. ✈
etihad’s growing female pilot community
(left to right) rebecca Hillyard, shereen al Mazroui,
shareefa al Bloushi, rose Omari,
salma al Baloushi, Hamda al Qubaisi.