Emirati woman becomes Etihad co-pilot
Abu Dhabi, June 13, 2011
Etihad Airways is celebrating the success of the first Emirati female to graduate from the airline’s cadet program as a co-pilot.
Salma Al Baloushi operated her first flight as a first officer on June 9, on flight EY 091 from Abu Dhabi to Athens.
Captain Richard Hill, chief operations officer of Etihad Airways, said: “This is a proud time for Abu Dhabi and Etihad Airways.
“Salma is a leader in our expanding female Emirati community and will be an example for her colleagues to follow. We wish her the best of luck in her career as she joins us in the rank of First Officer on Etihad’s Airbus A320 fleet.”
Salma joined Etihad in 2007 as part of the airline’s second group of cadet pilots. She completed her initial training at the Horizon International Flight Academy in Al Ain, studying the basics of flying, navigation and various associated technical subjects. Salma successfully completed 750 hours of classroom tuition and 205 hours of flight training in single and multi-engine aircraft.
During this time, she passed the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority’s theoretical knowledge and flying exams.
Following over two years of training, Salma received her wings and was promoted to Second Officer, said a statement.
Salma later continued her training at the Etihad Training Academy, completing further ground school technical and aircraft systems training. Salma also spent much time in Etihad’s A320 full-flight simulator as well as training in the development of non-technical skills applicable to working in a multi-crew environment. After approximately 18 months, she completed her final checks and was qualified as Etihad’s first Emirati female A320 co-pilot, graduating to the rank of First Officer alongside nine male colleagues.
Salma Al Baloushi said: “It was such an honour to be awarded with the rank of First Officer. We all worked extremely hard to reach this point and my family, who have fully supported me from day one, are extremely proud of me. I can only hope my accomplishment encourages many of my Emirati sisters and brothers to push the boundaries and reach their goals.”
Etihad currently has five UAE national female pilots training to fly for the airline.
The airline recently recruited over 85 UAE national cadet pilots in its expanding flying program. In addition to the cadet pilot program, Etihad Airways’ Emiratisation initiatives focus on two other streams which include the technical engineering development program and graduate management development program. Etihad also recently launched a call centre in Al Ain, managed and operated by only UAE national women. – TradeArabia News Service