Oman Air has announced that Maha Al Balushi has become the first female Omani Captain in the airline’s history. Al Balushi has been with the airline since 2010, when she graduated from the cadet program at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. She was the only woman enrolled in the program at the time. She became the first female Omani to be awarded the rank of first officer in 2013. Al Balushi officially received her new rank during a ceremony held at the Oman Air’s headquarters in Muscat. This statement comes ahead of International Women’s Day which is celebrated this year on March 8.
In a statement by Oman Air, Al Balushi said, “My dream has always been to become a captain. It hasn’t been easy but thanks to the support I have around me, from my family to my training team and the airline, I have accomplished what I set out to do. It is an honour to hold this role and I hope that I will inspire other Omani women to choose such a rewarding career in the skies.” Oman Air said that 1,230 Omani female employees contribute to the airline’s strength, occupying a range of roles including cabin crew, flight operations, engineering, airport services, marketing, customer services, sales, and communications.
Oman Air’s diversity goals
The airline has achieved an Omanisation rate of 94 per cent, excluding female cabin crew. Oman Air’s appointment of Al Balushi as the first female Omani Captain reflects the airline’s commitment to empowering women and promoting diversity in the aviation industry. It is hoped that her achievement will inspire more women in Oman to pursue careers in aviation, and serve as a reminder of the valuable contributions that women can make to the sector.
Other female captains in the Middle East
In August last year, Etihad Airways announced that Aisha Al Mansoori has made history by becoming the first Emirati woman to become a commercial airline captain in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Captain Al Mansoori joined the airline’s pilot cadet programme in October 2007 and was one of only two Emirati women in her class. She graduated from the programme in 2010 and flew her first flight on an Airbus A320 in Amman, Jordan. To become a captain, she had to complete Etihad’s checks and balances program, accumulate a mandatory number of flying hours, and pass the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority’s theoretical and piloting exams.
Image Credit: Oman Air