More women eye careers as pilots

National 1 minute, 49 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

MORE Bruneian women are interested in becoming pilots, a field that was previously thought to be male-dominated.

Captain Saiful Bahrin Hj Bahar, the chief pilot and head of flight operations at Royal Brunei (RB) Airlines, said the flag carrier currently has six female pilots.

In an interview, he said another female pilot will join their ranks once she has completed the Cadet Pilot Programme.

He added that currently RB Airlines has 130 pilots, including the six women.

The chief pilot observed that there has been an increase in the number of female applicants seeking to join the cadet pilot programme that was established since the late 1970s.

Captain Saiful attributed the increase in the number of women interested in becoming a pilot to Captain Sharifah Czarena Surainy Syed Hashim, who became the first female pilot in RB Airlines as well as Southeast Asia’s first female captain of a flag carrier line in 2012.

“We (RB) don’t discriminate based on gender, everyone is given equal opportunity, be it male or female because once they have decided to enter this field (being a pilot) they will go through the same process,” he said.

He added that the path towards becoming a pilot is difficult for males and females alike, adding that an individual must have the academic knowledge, physical ability as well as good health to become a pilot.

Captain Saiful said career opportunities for women at RB Airlines are not limited to being a pilot and that there is also an Engineering Apprenticeship Programme open to men and women.

“A word of advice for both men and women out there, the career of being a pilot is a rewarding one, it is challenging and demanding but if they choose to pursue this career, I can guarantee that the rewards are waiting for them,” said Captain Saiful.

Earlier this week, foreign media lauded RB Airlines’ first ever all female flight crew who flew the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Saudi Arabia.

A photo of the three female pilots, which included Captain Sharifah Czarena, went viral with some foreign media such as BBC News referring to the impressive feat as having “made history”.

The Brunei Times