Int'l Women's Day: Egyptian woman is first Arab female pilot to fly world's largest commercial plane

Mahmoud Aziz , Tuesday 7 Mar 2017

female pilots
Captain Nevine Darwish (right) and first officer officer Alia Al Muhairi (photo: Emirates Facebook page)

Dubai-based airline Emirates has posted a video on its Facebook page showing Egyptian pilot Nevine Darwish as the first Arab female pilot to fly the world's largest commercial plane Airbus-380 in celebration of International Women's Day on 8 March.

Co-piloted by Alia Al-Muhairi, the UAE’s youngest female pilot, the flight travelled from Dubai to Vienna.

The two-minute video, which showed the pilots greeting passengers and take off procedures, has been watched by over one million people and received widespread positive feedback from all over the world, especially in the Arab region.

Abdulaziz Al-Ali, executive vice president of human resources at Emirates, said in a statement that "Emirates is committed to providing equal opportunities at the workplace for both women and men across all business functions."

“We hope that our women colleagues can continue to inspire and be role models for girls and women across the globe interested in pursuing careers in aviation.”

"While over 18,000 work as cabin crew, the rest are represented across technical, professional and leadership roles," the statement said.

Close to 2.5 percent of the female staff hold managerial positions at the airline. The female cockpit crew are of 24 nationalities and are aged between 20 and 59, including pilot cadets.

Women also work as licensed aircraft engineers, mechanics, and technicians for aircraft maintenance and repairs. They also occupy critical positions in flight operations both on the ramp as operations managers, turnaround coordinators, aircraft loading supervisors and load controllers, as well as in the operations centre as flight dispatchers and duty managers.

Over the last 10 years, the number of women in the airline’s total workforce has grown by 6 percent, Emirates added.

In December 1933, Egyptian Lotfia El-Nadi became the first female pilot in Africa and the Arab region after flying a plane between Cairo and Alexandria.

She was also the second woman in the world to fly solo after American pilot Amelia Earhart in 1931.

Last month, EgyptAir assigned Magda Malek to be the first Egyptian female pilot to fly the long-range Boeing 300-777 commercial plane.

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