Etihad pilot becomes UAE’s first female Emirati captain

Etihad pilot Aisha al-Mansoori has made UAE aviation history after earning her stripes as the country’s first female commercial captain.

The 33-year-old Emirati has been a long-standing pilot with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, having first joined the carrier in 2007.

The carrier has now named al-Mansoori as the UAE’s first female Emirati Captain in a commercial airline, just days before the country celebrates its annual Emirati Women’s Day, which aims to celebrate the country’s journey on women empowerment.

Captain Aisha al-Mansoori said she was “very grateful” to have had the chance to grow her aviation career with Etihad Airways.

“I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to join Etihad’s Cadet Pilot program and grow my career over the years with Etihad. I am thankful for the tremendous support I have received from my instructors at Etihad and for their guidance through my training, which has shaped my skills and prepared me for the rank of Captain.”

“I am proud to be the first female Emirati to be a Captain in a commercial airline, and I hope I will be an inspiration to young women to follow this career path.”

The command upgrade ceremony took place at Etihad's Crew Briefing Centre in the presence of the pilot's family, her peers in Etihad’s pilot community, and the airline's senior management.

The Captain joined Etihad's Cadet Pilot program in 15 years ago and was one of only two UAE National females in her batch.

In 2010, Aisha al-Mansoori successfully graduated from the program and took her first flight on an Airbus A320 to Amman, Jordan.

Since then, al-Mansoori climbed the ranks, completing the requisite flying hours to become a Senior First Officer.

She was then the first female UAE national to fly the superjumbo passenger aircraft the Airbus A380.

To obtain the rank of Captain, al-Mansoori completed Etihad’s rigorous program of checks and the mandatory number of flying hours required to be considered for the rank of Captain.

She passed the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority's theoretical knowledge and flying exams successfully and officially became the first Emirati female Captain to hold an Air Transport Pilot License in the UAE.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad is extremely proud of Captain Aisha’s achievement and the trailblazing role she is playing for women in aviation in the UAE. She will no doubt be the first of many, and Etihad looks forward to welcoming more female pilots to the rank of Captain in the future.”

“Etihad remains committed to Emiratization and to elevating Emirati women to play their part in the growth of the aviation industry.”

He added: “Aviation is gender blind, and to prove oneself, Etihad’s pilots undergo intensive exams and meet strict requirements on flying hours to ensure the highest standards of training in international aviation are upheld.”

“Aisha earned her rank and will no doubt inspire her fellow Emiratis and young women around the world to follow their dreams in aviation.”

On 28 August, al-Mansoori will commence regular flying duties as a Captain at Etihad, a day which also marks Emirati Women’s Day.