Etihad’s all-female flight crew takes International Women’s Day to new heights

08 March 2019, 02:00 PM

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, is marking International Women’s Day this year with its first flight staffed by an all-female flight crew, highlighting the integral role played by its female staff members in technical, operational and leadership positions.

  • EY017 from Abu Dhabi to London marks Abu Dhabi-based airline’s first flight staffed by all-female flight crew
  • Artwork at Abu Dhabi International Airport showcases four of Etihad’s inspiring female staff

More than 30 Etihad Airways women showcased their aviation skills and expertise during Etihad’s first ever all-female flight on flight EY017 from Abu Dhabi International Airport to London’s Heathrow International Airport on 8 March.

French Captain Sophie Blanchard and Irish Captain Faela Stevenson piloted the Airbus A380 along with First Officers Pirre Susana Leese from Finland and Liesbeth Baldewijns from Belgium. The flight deck worked hand in hand with the 19-member all-female Cabin Crew team from 13 nationalities, on the flight of 368 guests.

Amina Taher, Vice President Corporate Affairs at Etihad Aviation Group said of the day: “At Etihad, we don’t just connect places - we connect people. On International Women’s Day, we’re so proud to have thousands of strong, ambitious and talented women working with us across the entire value chain both above and below the wing in areas including operations, cargo, and engineering, as well as specialised functions such as aviation law, medicine and finance.

We invite our daughters, sisters, colleagues and friends to join us in continuing to ensure that gender diversity is well represented across our industry, here and globally. To women and men everywhere, Happy International Women’s Day from Etihad Aviation Group.”

The operation brought together women in roles including pilots and cabin crew, engineers, technicians, a technical safety manager, a flight dispatcher and a load controller.

Travellers to Abu Dhabi International Airport were able to see artwork featuring four of Etihad’s inspiring women as they journeyed through the nation’s capital.

Fatima Alkharousi is Head of Terminal Operations. Since joining Etihad in 2009, Fatima has held management positions in London, Singapore and Sydney before becoming the airline’s first female airport manager in Nagoya, Japan. She now leads Etihad’s terminal operations at Abu Dhabi International Airport, ensuring everything runs smoothly and safely for the airline in its busy hub.

First Officer Flavia Lucilio flies Etihad’s Airbus A320 aircraft. One of Etihad’s 78 female pilots, she became a qualified pilot at 19 after falling in love with the aviation industry thanks to her father who was also a pilot, and joined Etihad in 2016.

Carmen Paraschiv, Duty Manager in the airline’s buzzing Network Operations Centre, takes on the demanding task of overseeing the global flow of aircraft, crew and customers. Working at the heart of Etihad’s operations, Carmen’s highly pressured role requires the ability to make quick, informed decisions and respond to changing needs at a moment’s notice.

Sara Hasan Al Hashmi is a Technical Engineering Trainee with Etihad Airways Engineering. At 26 years of age, Sara is one of 70 female UAE nationals on the intense engineer training programme working in its state-of-the-art facilities on one of the most modern fleets in the world.

The four women featured in the artwork represent a handful of the 150-plus nationalities in the Etihad family and showcase just a small cross-section of the career paths at Etihad Aviation Group, including highly skilled technical, operational and leadership roles.

Women landing in Abu Dhabi were treated to a welcome card and flowers to mark the global occasion, while guests travelling outbound from Abu Dhabi on board Etihad Airways flights heard a welcome announcement on board celebrating the day.

8 March is also the anniversary of the first woman to receive a pilot’s license: the French aviator Elise Raymonde de Laroche in 1910, making it a doubly appropriate day for Etihad’s all-female achievement in the skies.

Women are represented in each of the aviation and travel group’s seven business divisions, and over half of Etihad’s UAE national staff are female.