Etihad Airways has marked Emirati Women’s Day by announcing that more than half the UAE nationals employed by the airline are women, including nearly 50 pilots.
Aisha Al Mansoori recalls being
mesmorised by the aerial activity at Al Ain Air Show in 2007. Nowadays, she is
one of those pilots, flying the largest passenger jet in the world.
“I fell in love with aviation during
the 2007 Al Ain Air Show and joined Etihad the following year as a cadet. After
qualifying, I started as a Second Officer on the Airbus A320 and now I’m a First
Officer on the A380. I hope to become Captain so I can train other aviators,”
said Aisha Al Mansoori.
A total of 11 Emirati women are fully
operational as pilots with the airline, while 38 others are navigating their
way through cadet pilot training.
Etihad has been holding a series of
events to mark the second year of Emirati Women’s day, a government-led
initiative now held annually on 28 August to recognise the role of Emirati
women in the development of the UAE. This year’s theme is Emirati Women and
The most symbolic of the events was a visit to Etihad
Airways’ Training Academy by ten longstanding members of the UAE General
Women’s Union (GWU). The delegation met some of the airline’s Emirati female
pilots, engineers and business leaders – bringing two generations together in a
powerful illustration of the journey of Emirati women and the progress that has
The GWU was established 41 years ago on 28 August,
the same day now celebrated as Emirati Women’s Day. The delegation was led by
its first member, 65-year old Zulaikha AL Sayed AL
H.E. Noura Khalifa Al
Suwaidi, Director-General of the UAE General Women's Union, said: “Such achievements
would not have been possible without the vision, direction and unwavering
support of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's
Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and President of
the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood. We were happy to meet
ambitious Emirati women working across Etihad Airways, both locally and
globally, in areas such as flight operations, engineering and management.”
Mona Walid, Vice President, Human Resources for
Etihad Airways and Etihad Airways Engineering,
said: “Since Etihad’s launch in 2003, the company has focused on attracting and
developing both male and female Emirati talent. As we nurture the leaders of
the future, we are committed to elevating Emirati women to the forefront of
aviation to play their part in the growth of the economy.”
The group also visited Etihad Airways’ Global Business
Service Solutions (GBSS) in Al Ain, a revenue accounting centre of excellence,
where 97 per cent of employees are Emirati women.
On Wednesday 24 August, a media event
was held involving a number of Emirati female employees of the airline. Amongst
them was Khawla Albadi, who in her role as Head of Business Services, looks
after innovation and technology across the organisation.
Of the more than 3,200 Emiratis
employed by the airline, 1,661 are women – or 51 per cent. This includes the
137 at the award winning, all-female Al Ain Contact Centre, reflecting the
appeal of Etihad as an employer of Emirati women.
Also present at Wednesday’s media
gathering was Maitha AlHemeiri – Manager E-Operations Support, who is working
towards paperless cockpits and Reem Fekri, whose role in the Corporate
Communications division saw her seconded to the Indian Ocean island of the Seychelles
to assist equity partner, Air Seychelles.
On Sunday and Monday – 28 and 29 August – Etihad
is holding networking events where Emirati female employees can discuss their
careers with the airline’s most successful female staff. Fatma AL Mehairi joined
the events from Toronto, where she is the first Emirati woman within Etihad to
be appointed as General Manager of a country. Arwa AlShehhi flew in from New
York where she is Marketing Manager Americas.