Bahrain forum to support female pilots
Manama, September 9, 2013
Encouraging more women to take to the skies will be the focus of a meeting of female pilots in Bahrain next week, a report said.
The Arabian section of the 99's International Women's Pilot Organisation will meet from September 17 to 20 to plan their next event, find sponsors and hopefully recruit more women, according to a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The organisation was originally set up by famous female flyer Amelia Earhart in 1929 to support female pilots.
It now has 5,000 members in more than 35 countries, ranging from light aircraft pilots to astronauts.
The governor of the Arabian section of the 99's, Alia Twal, hopes to use next week's event to speak to women keen on a career in flying.
"We are trying to get as many people involved as possible," said Twal, from Jordan.
"We are looking for sponsors for our upcoming event and we want to hear from women pilots and any student female pilots who would like to join. We would also be especially pleased to hear from women who want to become a pilot.
"Maybe there is something putting them off or maybe they are married and they are worried about how they can have a family life and a career in aviation. This is not something that should stop them from following their dream, as it is possible to do both."
However, the Royal Jordanian Airlines first officer said perceptions were changing.
"It is more challenging to get women involved in this part of the world, Arab countries are rich in traditional values," she admitted.
"But people are coming round to the idea of female pilots and it is great to be part of this wave of change. Flying is a beautiful feeling. When you land the plane and the passengers leave smiling and chatting and continuing on their journey like nothing has happened, it gives me great satisfaction and I think more women should get the chance to experience that."
Yvonne Trueman, former governor of the 99's Arabian section, said she had seen a surge in women interested in the profession in the last 12 months - and was hoping to meet some new recruits in Bahrain next week.
"Flying for a living is really very wonderful and once it gets into your blood it is hard to stop," she said.
"We are keen to hear from women who would like to find out more, and are seriously thinking of becoming a pilot for a living."
The Arabian division of the 99's was set up in 1987 and includes pilots from Gulf Air.
Another gathering is being planned for November 21 to 24 in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and sponsors are being sought. – TradeArabia News Service