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23 Mar 2015 10:30

Shareef Al Romaithi, a 31 year-old Etihad Airways First Officer, has become the first Emirati to obtain a PhD in aviation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which also makes him the youngest and the eighth holder of this distinctive degree in the world. 

Shareef joined the UAE’s national carrier in 2007 as a cadet pilot, and upon completing the airline’s specialised pilot training program, became the first Etihad Airways cadet pilot to transition to First Officer status.

His educational journey began in 2005 when he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering. He went on to complete two Masters degrees in Aviation and Aerospace Management and Safety Systems.  In 2010 Etihad Airways sponsored his PhD studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world's largest, fully accredited university specialising in aviation and aerospace.

While studying, he continued his flight training and along with his commercial pilot license, he also obtained private pilot sea-plane and rotorcraft licenses, becoming a Certified Flight and Ground Instructor.

“I am thankful to Etihad Airways for giving me the opportunity to obtain this unique degree while at the same time pursuing what I love,” Shareef said. 

Shareef’s research-based dissertation addressed the importance of understanding the impact of cross-culture on airline pilots' safety performance, specifically in the Middle-East and North Africa.

Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said: “It is very important that Emiratis have a key role in all areas of our business, as the national airline of the UAE. Their development is therefore a significant focus for us, and through our innovative Emiratisation, training and scholarship programs, we work hard to prepare our UAE national staff to become future leaders and play an integral role in the airline and aviation industry.

”Shareef is a prime example of the ambitious and talented Emarati we are continually seeking to develop, and who will ultimately bring their unique skills and knowledge for the benefit of the airline as well as the UAE.  We are proud of his academic accomplishments and look forward to expanding his horizons and career even further.“

Shareef currently operates the Airbus A330/A340 fleet and will be operating on the Boeing 777 fleet from April 2015.

Shareef said: “I encourage my colleagues to pursue their goals, never give up on their dreams, to become risk takers and not be afraid of failure. We are blessed with all the opportunities that come our way; it is up to us to accept the responsibilities.”

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