Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

Global Women's Forum Dubai: UAE’s first royal pilot wants to see more women in aviation

Capt Mozah says women have to try twice as hard as men to make an impact in the aviation industry

Capt Sheikha Mozah bint Marwan Al Maktoum wants to encourage more women to take up jobs in the aviation industry. Pawan Singh / The National
Capt Sheikha Mozah bint Marwan Al Maktoum wants to encourage more women to take up jobs in the aviation industry. Pawan Singh / The National

The UAE’s first female Emirati commercial pilot, and a member of Dubai’s royal family, wants to see more women join her in the aviation industry.

To make that happen, Capt Sheikha Mozah bint Marwan Al Maktoum, launched the Women in Aviation Association in October last year to offer direction and support to women interested in pursuing a career in the industry.

“Aviation is a male dominated industry and I hope to change that,” she told The National on the second day of the Global Women’s Forum in Dubai on Monday.

“The association is not just for pilots. It’s for lawyers, doctors, engineers or anyone else who wants to be a part of this vast and exciting industry.”

Aviation is a male dominated industry and I hope to change that

Capt Sheikha Mozah Al Maktoum, Dubai Police

Capt Mozah, who is a lieutenant pilot with Dubai Police and made headlines two years ago when a video of her landing an Emirates plane in Italy was widely shared on social media, said she found women typically have to try twice as hard as men to make an impact in the industry.

But with support, determination and focus, the gender disparity in the industry can be changed, she said.

“My mentor told me that in his 30 years in the industry, he had only trained seven women, including me. But his female students showed more commitment and focus than men.

“All my trainers were tough with me to ensure my grades were well earned. It was never easy,” she said.

But it has not been an easy road.

“There were challenging times when I was homesick, moments when I couldn’t see a positive outcome, but I never wanted to be an average, so I tried harder. I was high on adrenaline,” she said.

At 17, Capt Mozah was the youngest in her class at CAE Oxford Aviation Academy and it took her few months to adjust to academy life in England.

“I had to really up my game and adjust to the workload. Everyone around me had so much experience.

“I had to adjust my body to fly during different times of the day and night. But I always loved flying; it’s a passion not a job and that has only grown over the years.”

Capt Mozah earned her wings in April 2016 before completing her maiden flight the following year with Emirates Airline.

“I hope my journey is an encouragement to all girls. They should follow their heart as there’s no such thing that’s impossible,” she said.

To encourage more women to join the industry, the International Air Transport Association launched the 25by2025 campaign last year with the aim of advancing gender diversity in aviation by 2025.

The campaign is a voluntary commitment by participating IATA member airlines.

Under the campaign, the aviation body wants to increase the number of women in senior positions and women in under-represented jobs, including pilots and operations, by either 25 per cent against currently reported metrics or to a minimum representation of 25 per cent by 2025.

Updated: February 18, 2020 08:07 AM

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