Youngest Emirati female pilot tells Al Arabiya: My gender was never an obstacle
Emirati Alia al-Muhairi has been basking in the spotlight ever since an ad campaign showing her co-pilot the first all-female Arab crew to fly an Airbus A380 made the headlines on Wednesday.
In honor of International Women’s Day on Wednesday, Emirates Airlines released a video of Captain Nevin Darwish and First Officer Muhairi as they transported passengers from the UAE to Vienna.
Muhairi told Al Arabiya News Channel the fact that she was being considered the youngest Emirati female pilot to fly an A380 especially on a day commemorating women did not go unnoticed by her.
“Thankfully my country, the United Arab Emirates, opened up opportunities for women to enter this field. Aviation is obviously dominated by men so I thought why can’t I, as a woman, try out for the job. I’m no less than my male counterparts,” Muhairi told Al Arabiya.
While she said she received support from both family and country, there were some who had opposition to the idea of her one day becoming a female pilot.
“At first, my mother was scared for me and telling me it would be difficult to travel alone and such. There were also others in my society who said that customs and traditions forbade women from such fields. But at the end I gained all their support,” she said.
Muhairi has been a first officer for Emirates Airlines since 2012 and is now pushing for more of women in the UAE to join her rank.
“I have one friend who was inspired by my journey as a pilot and is now training in London. She is now succeeding and hopefully she’ll join me one day,” she said.
Muhairi told Al Arabiya that her immediate short-term goal is to one day become a captain but the ultimately become an aviation trainer and help the next generation of young pilots in the UAE.