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Aisha Al Mansoori Makes History as the UAE’s First Female Commercial Captain

Photo: Wam

Aisha Al Mansoori has made history as UAE’s first-ever Emirati female captain of a commercial airline, Etihad Airways, at the young age of 33—a landmark for both the carrier and the Mansoori family. From a training cadet to the mainstay person in charge of the aircraft, Mansoori had a challenging journey but it was well worth it as the young pilot sets an empowering example for women across the MENA region. After 15 challenging years at Etihad Airways serving as a trainee with many promotions throughout to the ranks of the second officer, first officer, and senior first officer, Mansoori got her deserved promotion as captain, marking a memorable day for Emirati women.

Etihad Airways had a crew briefing session this Tuesday, where Mansoori was rewarded with four stripes on her uniform, a mark that confirmed her newly elevated rank. Mansoori has trained for 6,000 hours at the UAE airline in her 15-year-long tenure, learning an array of skills that rose her right to the top. She initially joined the airline in 2007 where she trained with a Cessna 172 airline, a four-seat, single-engine aircraft, and a Diamond DA42, which had two engines. Starting from some of the smallest planes in the airplane world, Mansoori then progressed as the cadet pilot of Airbus A230 shortly after her graduation, A330s, and lastly A380 superjumbo, the world’s largest passenger jet.

Interestingly, Mansoori wasn’t the first in her family with a big dream and fighting spirit. Her sister Major Mariam Al Mansoori made another compelling mark as UAE’s first-ever female fighter pilot. This opened up doors for Mansoori as she was exposed to the world of airplanes and flying from a very young age. According to reports, Mansoori attended an air show with her sister while she was in high school, and the experience inaugurated her journey into the aviation world. Once she saw the thrill of an aircraft, with the bustling pilots and pretty skies, she knew that this was the career she wanted to pursue, hence setting the course for her entire life.

This victory couldn’t come at a better time for Mansoori, given that Emirati Women’s Day is fast approaching, and this year the theme is women empowerment.

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