Malaysia Airlines introduces first female pilots

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Malaysia Airlines' second officer Wang Wen Chien steers her inaugural flight to Nanjing, China in August 2018. (Photo credit: Malaysia Airlines Twitter account)
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Malaysia Airlines celebrated their first female pilots during a graduation ceremony in August 2018. (Photo credit: Malaysia Airlines Facebook page)
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Pearl Mak was honoured as Malaysia Airlines' first female captain. (Photo credit: Malaysia Airlines Facebook page)
Updated 03 November 2018
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Malaysia Airlines introduces first female pilots

  • In 2017, 3 percent of the 130,000 pilots worldwide were women, according to the International Society of Women Pilots.
  • Malaysia’s low-cost carrier AirAsia has 55 female pilots and a female CEO.

KUALA LUMPUR: Four Malaysians have become the first female pilots for their country’s national carrier, Malaysia Airlines, which has 927 pilots.
Pearl Mak, the airline’s first female captain, told Arab News that it felt like a solitary effort to “break into this male-dominated profession.”
But she said she persevered because “all I wanted was to fly, and I wanted to fly a jet aircraft, and it had to be a Boeing 747. That was my goal.”
She added: “Financially, I supported myself in getting my pilot license. That was a huge challenge for me as I had a limited budget to complete the course.”
She said: “It’s an honor to serve my national carrier, and most importantly I didn’t give up on that dream.”
She added: “Some airlines around the world are now more receptive to having female pilots. Overall, however, the aviation industry still has a long way to go in that regard.”
Second Officer Hooi Wen Foo, one of the four female pilots, said her dad inspired her to fulfil her dream.
“He really inspired me with all his stories about flying,” she told Arab News, adding that it was also his dream to become a pilot when he was young. “That dream rubbed off on me.”
Becoming a pilot was no easy task, she said. “Aviation being such a male-dominated industry, I did have a couple of setbacks mentally. One must be mentally tough and know their dreams and goals,” she added, thanking her male colleagues at Malaysia Airlines for their support.
“The more women who know about this opportunity, the better. In this modern age, gender shouldn’t be a barrier for anyone to achieve their dreams.”
MalaIn 2017, 3 percent of the 130,000 pilots worldwide were women, according to the International Society of Women Pilots. Malaysia’s low-cost carrier AirAsia has 55 female pilots and a female CEO.


No quick breakthrough in Taliban talks, warns Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (REUTERS)
Updated 16 June 2019
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No quick breakthrough in Taliban talks, warns Ghani

  • The Taliban do not trust Ghani ... and there is no possibility of any compromise between Ghani and the Taliban
  • Afghan president says deal not possible without a ‘regional consensus’

KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani said late on Friday that a breakthrough in Afghanistan’s peace process will require more time.
“We consider the US commitment to a political solution to be credible and are coordinating to build the necessary international consensus on peace. But without a regional consensus on peace and addressing Taliban’s interdependencies with their supporters, breakthroughs will take time,” Ghani said.
Ghani made the comments on Friday at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. His remarks are his first in public since a series of talks between US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Taliban emissaries held in recent months in Qatar.
Afghan government delegates were excluded from the discussions because the Taliban consider Ghani’s administration a puppet of the West.
Khalilzad is in Afghanistan hoping to revive talks between the Taliban and other Afghans, including government delegates, after Ghani called off such a gathering in April in Qatar. Ghani summoned a grand traditional assembly, or Loya Jirga, afterwards in Kabul to set a mechanism for talks with the Taliban.
In Bishkek, Ghani said his government’s mandate for seeking peace with the Taliban comes from the 23-point resolution of the Jirga.
He said that “although the Afghan war is multi-dimensional, reaching a peace agreement with the Taliban is a key component for the reduction of violence.”
Ghani put forward four proposals for an Afghan peace deal. It includes the formation of a regional and international coalition for peace and the creation of a regional task force to develop bankable programs and projects for regional connectivity and poverty reduction.
He said dealing with drugs as a driver of conflict and criminality should be comprehensively addressed within the peace-making and peace-building framework. Agreeing to a regional framework for fighting terrorism was also essential.
Ghani said his government will hold the presidential elections on Sept. 28, which have been delayed twice so far. Some of Ghani’s rivals accuse him of using government resources in his favor for the poll, while other politicians, including Khalilzad, favor postponing the poll until the talks with Taliban have finished so that the latter can also take part in the elections.
Jamaludin Badar, a former governor who is a member of the government-appointed High Peace Council, said that, given the regional and international involvement in Afghanistan’s long war and the complication of the conflict, headway cannot been expected soon in the talks.
“There are countries in the region and beyond who want their interest to be protected in Afghanistan post the peace deal,” he told Arab News. “So it is natural for the peace process to drag on and on. These countries have a consensus on ending the war, but not on their interests and future involvement here.”
Nazar Mohammad Mutmaeen, an analyst, said: “Ghani wants to remain in power for another five years and makes different comments at different juncture of time. The Taliban do not trust Ghani ... and there is no possibility of any compromise between Ghani and the Taliban.”