Emirates highlights female role models in aviation with simulator challenge

Bangalore, July 24, 2017: Championing the importance of women’s contributions to the growth and development of aviation, Emirates recently hosted Shaesta Waiz for a Boeing 777 simulator challenge in its home base of Dubai. Waiz is the founder and pilot of Dreams Soar, Inc. (DSI), a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire and empower young females to become the next generation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and aviation professionals, through a global outreach mission. The outreach includes a global solo flight mission, where Waiz is piloting a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza A36 to circumnavigate the globe. Waiz stopped in Dubai, one of 34 stops across 18 countries in her five continent journey which will clock in just under 47,000 kilometres upon completion.

Shaesta was met at Emirates Aviation College byBakhita Al Muheiri, Emirates Boeing 777 First Officer, to test her aerialskills in an Emirates Boeing 777 simulator. Bakhita is one of Emirates’youngest female Emirati pilots at 24 years. She earned her wings in 2016 andhas accumulated over 1,100 flying hours after completing the airline’s NationalCadet Pilot Programme. After a short briefing, Shaesta and Bakhita began their simulatorchallenge in the Boeing 777 cockpit, taking-off, landing and piloting eachassigned journey. Watch both pilots command the Boeing 777 simulator and sharetheir personal experiences here.

Adel Al Redha, Executive Vice President and ChiefOperations Officer Emirates airline said: “Through our National Cadet PilotProgramme, we want to grow the next generation of female pilots, by creating anenvironment that retains, nurtures and values them so they are able to progressand take a wider role within our industry. We also believe that one of the waysto support the need for pilots today is to tap into the female talent pool andinspire them to take their career path into aviation which is one of the mostrewarding fields."

Bakhita Al Muheiri also commented on the simulatorexperience with Shaesta: “I am truly inspired by Shaesta’s story. As the firstcivilian female pilot from Afghanistan, she has demonstrated that the world isfull of possibilities and when we expose females to a wide range of careers inSTEM and aviation we boost their interest to enter fast-moving sectors with awealth of opportunities.”

Commenting on her twin engine Boeing 777 simulatorchallenge, Shaesta said:  “An airplane doesn't know if you are a girl orboy, what your religion or background is. It reacts based on the input of thepilot. My hope from the time I spent flying the Boeing 777 simulator withBakhita, learning of her empowering story, and Emirates helping to pave the wayfor many more young women, is for more role models to devote their time andenergy inspiring our next generation.  Let us work together and expend ourresources to create brighter futures for our tomorrow.” 

Emirates’ female cockpit crew come from 24nationalities, covering a diverse age range of 20 to 59 years.  Emiratesalso has the first Arab woman to Captain the Airbus A380, as well as theyoungest Emirati female pilot operating the A380.  Additionally, Emiratesemploys women who are highly skilled professionals working as aircraftengineers, mechanics and aircraft maintenance and repairs technicians. Womenalso work in critical positions in flight operations at the airline.

Later in the day, the UAE General Civil AviationAuthority hosted Shaesta in Kidzania at Dubai Mall to speak to young girls andwomen about her experiences and the Dreams Soar project. Bakhita Al Muhairi andfemale cadets, Khalid Ali Al Mansoori and Maryam Yousuf Bin Ismail, also gavetalks about their aviation journeys in an effort to inspire the young women inattendance.

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