Women in Oman have made a mark on land and sea by clinching prestigious positions in the Omani society while overcoming obstacles and challenges that are thrown in their way at the same time.
One woman has paved the way for others in the sky and #OmanPride today features Maha Al Baluchi, the nation’s first Omani female senior first-officer working for the national carrier, Oman Air.
Working her way up from flying Boeing 737s to eventually co-piloting the state-of-the-art Airbus A330, Al Baluchi has graced Oman and Omani women in the skies.
“This was my first job ever and it feels great; especially that a lot of young females (could) consider me an inspiration for them,” said Al Baluchi.
“I hope I can be an inspiration to women in the Arab world and not only in our beloved Oman,” she added.
Travelling frequently with her family at a young age, her admiration for airline crew members grew stronger, which made her take the path of aviation, for which she successfully obtained a licence in Australia.
When the Times of Oman asked her about the challenges she had faced when she decided to specialise in a male-dominated profession, Al Baluchi said, “I mostly faced cultural challenges and not many accepted that this job is suitable for an Omani women. When I was young my family thought that I will change my mind as I grew older.”
She added, “Nevertheless, the family supported me as I started venturing in the business, especially my father, who always told me that I can be a pilot and nothing is impossible.”
Unlike Al Baluchi, some women are hesitant or rather convinced that they cannot pursue their dreams for a career in a predominantly male bastion, but Al Baluchi advised that if women turn their dreams to ambition and a goal, as well as work hard on it, they will succeed and do what they have always wanted to do.
Aviation, especially piloting, is not a field to be taken lightly as it requires immense concentration, pilot intuition and, of course, knowledge of how to fly a plane.
Cadets undergoing training need to study about 15 books to gain theoretical knowledge about flying aircraft from navigational mapping and flight operations to meteorology and mechanics.
“If you are planning to start your life in aviation, it should start with passion and love for this job and continue with hard work. There should be no other reason that gets you into aviation but your passion and love for it,” said Al Baluchi.
By Tariq Ziad Al Haremi
© Muscat Media Group