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Emirati female co-pilot hailed by Etihad Airways

Salma Al Baloushi operated initial flight as first officer this month.
Etihad, NEWS, Aviation

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Etihad Airways is celebrating the success of its first Emirati female to graduate from the airline’s cadet programme as a co-pilot. Salma Al Baloushi operated her first flight as a first officer on Thursday, June 9, on flight EY 091 from Abu Dhabi to Athens.

“This is a proud time for Abu Dhabi and Etihad Airways," stated Captain Richard Hill, chief operations officer of Etihad Airways. "Salma is a leader in our expanding female Emirati community and will be an example for her colleagues to follow. We wish her the best of luck in her career as she joins us in the rank of First Officer on Etihad’s Airbus A320 fleet.”

Salma joined Etihad in 2007 as part of the airline’s second group of cadet pilots. She completed her initial training at the Horizon International Flight Academy in Al Ain, studying the basics of flying, navigation and various associated technical subjects. Salma successfully completed 750 hours of classroom tuition and 205 hours of flight training in single and multi-engine aircraft. During this time, she passed the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority’s theoretical knowledge and flying exams.

Following over two years of training, Salma received her wings and was promoted to Second Officer. She later continued her training at the Etihad Training Academy, completing further ground school technical and aircraft systems training. Salma also spent much time in Etihad’s A320 full-flight simulator as well as training in the development of non-technical skills applicable to working in a multi-crew environment. After approximately 18 months, she completed her final checks and was qualified as Etihad’s first Emirati female A320 co-pilot, graduating to the rank of First Officer alongside nine male colleagues.

Salma Al Baloushi said: “It was such an honor to be awarded with the rank of First Officer. We all worked extremely hard to reach this point and my family, who have fully supported me from day one, are extremely proud of me. I can only hope my accomplishment encourages many of my Emirati sisters and brothers to push the boundaries and reach their goals.”

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