First Bahraini lady pilot gains her wings with Gulf Air

Published February 5th, 2007 - 08:37 GMT

Maisa Hazeem is on 'top of the world', literally! She is the first Bahraini woman to qualify as First Officer in Gulf Air. When she came out of the cockpit of the A320 aircraft, having successfully completing her final 'line check', she said, "It is the proudest moment of my life."

In a brief ceremony held in his office, Gulf Air Vice President Operations, Capt Hameed Ali, congratulated Maisa on her achievement and wished her a successful career.

"It is by no means an ordinary achievement," he says. "She had to pass through hurdles, which are quite challenging and demanding. The two-year training programme is a rigorous one and there are no favours or concessions shown for being a woman."

"Secondly, in this part of the world, there is a myth that a flying career is exclusive to men and that women are less skilled to take up this job.

Maisa broke that myth by proving she is equally capable and talented. She is a sterling example of a successful Bahraini woman, and I am sure her success will open doors for more Bahraini women who want to achieve.

Her hard work, keenness to learn and the determination to achieve will see her becoming a captain eventually."

A graduate of electronic engineering from the University of Bahrain class of 2000, Maisa worked as an air traffic controller at the Bahrain International Airport for two years before joining Gulf Air's cadet pilot programme in 2004.

"Maisa went through the standard selection process of several screenings, tests and interviews and was chosen strictly on merit, competing with over 400 candidates, who had applied for the programme," adds Captain Hameed Ali, "and she completed the training successfully, just like other trainees in her batch."

The Gulf Air cadet pilot programme is part of the Gulf Nationals’ Training programme initiated by Gulf Air for the nationals of its owner states. Selected candidates have to complete successfully an initial 18-month training period before being accepted as Second Officers and then progressing to the final of four-month phase of training, after which they become First Officers.

"Every phase of the training was challenging and demanding," says Maisa ,"but it was interesting. I am very grateful to Gulf Air, my trainers, and my parents who supported and encouraged me all along."

"It is a great feeling to be a pilot for Gulf Air and I personally think any female can do it. All one needs is sincerity, hard work, competitive spirit and the determination to succeed."

"Maisa was very talented and devoted," adds Chief Pilot A320 and manager-in-charge of Maisa, Capt Nasser Al Salmi. "Throughout her training programme she neither expected any concession nor wanted to be treated differently; she followed every rule in the book, like others in her batch, and she proved herself. I look forward to her becoming a captain in due course."

About Gulf Air
Founded in 1950, Gulf Air, owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Sultanate of Oman, is the only truly Pan Gulf carrier in the Middle East region.

The regional, geographic and cultural values that the airline has embraced over more than half a century are still central to defining its brand and service ethos.

Today the airline’s network stretches from Europe to Asia and covers 50 cities in 30 countries. The fleet comprises 34 aircraft and has the distinct advantage of possessing the strongest network across the Middle East.

A platform for sustained commercial operation has been established over the past three years as part of a multi-phased turnaround programme. It has also provided a framework for a succession of innovative products and services including the unique Sky Chefs and Sky Nannies that form part of Gulf Air’s ’smart airline, successful business’ vision.

International recognition has been achieved as a result of the turnaround programme leading to numerous awards for the airline’s innovative and high quality products and services: These include:
• Best Onboard Catering in First and Business Class (Skytrax World Airline Catering Awards 2005)
• Best designed in-flight magazine (American Creativity Awards,2005)
• Middle East Leading First Class Airline (World Travel Awards 2005)
• World’s Leading Airport Lounge (World Travel Awards 2005)
• Middle East & North African Platinum Best Airline (MENA Travel Awards 2004
• Most Improved Airline (Skytrax Awards 2004)
• Middle East First Class Airline (Arabian Business Awards)
• Best new product launch for in-flight services (PAX international Readership Awards)
• Best First Class Onboard Food (Skytrax Food Category 2004)
• Best Business Class Check-in (Skytrax Check-in Category 2004)
• Middle East region’s best airport restaurant for its restaurant in Bahrain International Airport lounge (PAX International Readership Awards 2005)
Official Airline and Sponsor of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2007
For further information please contact:
T: +973 17 338821
F: +973 17 338207


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