Oman Air’s first woman pilot Maha al Balushi talks about taking to the skies, but advises young women that when it comes to chasing their dreams, the sky is not the limit.
“I was very excited to operate my first flight. It was a great first experience that changed the way I looked at aviation before. It gave me a great sense of responsibility. With that first flight I knew that I had made the right decision in my career, and that it was the job I was born to do.
Although we are a part of an Arab and Muslim culture, which is also very much bound by traditions, the reaction of most people came in the form of encouragement and support for the idea of a female flying aéroplanes.
Of course, there are always those few individuals who find it difficult to accept any new concepts in culture. But, overall, I see people full of pride and support when they see me in uniform.
If you want to be a pilot, it should come out of passion. Image, prestige or money should not be the driving force behind your decision. There is a lot of work that has to be done to excel. No short cuts or easy goings are allowed, and nothing below the highest levels of professionalism is accepted.
If aviation is your dream, go for it and remember that we have the capability to be what we want to be. You only need to stay focused and strong no matter how you struggle along your path to success.
My advice to the Omani youth in general – and to females in particular – is that we must follow our inner voice that tells us what we truly want to be. We should know what we are passionate about, bring it out and excel in it.
And, no matter what our ambitions are, I believe that hard work will be the key to success and the way forward to accomplish your dreams. Remember this: luck doesn’t exist, and if you want to succeed, you should choose between working hard or relaxing; each of them is in a different circle and do not mix in one place.
I would also like to tell all Omani women out there that we are together. And our responsibility is to build our country and seek a better life that is no less than that of our brothers. Side by side with the men, we can make a greater power.”