An Emirati woman has become Etihad Airways100th cadet pilot. Shareefa Al Bloushi, from Abu Dhabi, is a member of Etihad's tenth group of cadets which recently started the 18 month training programme at the Horizon Flight Academy in Al Ain.
She is also the sixth female Emirati cadet pilot, and eighth female overall to join the programme.
The Abu Dhabi airline's cadet pilot programme was launched in June 2007 with the first group of cadet pilots, who graduated from the course in February 2009, now training and flying aboard the airline's Airbus A320 fleet.
Captain Richard Hill, Etihad Airways' chief operations officer, said: "The recruitment, training and development of cadet pilots is of the utmost importance to Etihad Airways and an integral part of maintaining our position as a leading global airline.
Etihad's expanding female pilot community which currently includes 15 female first officers and cadet pilots within its ranks. The airline expects this figure to double over the coming year.
Shereefa Al Bloushi said: "I am extremely proud to be a part of the Etihad Airways female pilot community and to be learning alongside other women pilots from across the world. "Whilst the programme is rigorous and demanding it will ensure that I have the best training and development for when I graduate and become a fully-qualified Etihad pilot."
The cadets must complete 750 hours of classroom tuition and 205 hours flight training in single and multi-engine aircraft to gain the frozen Airline Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL).
During this time they also have to pass the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority's theoretical knowledge and flying exams. Etihad Airways' fleet will expand to 52 narrow and widebody aircraft by the end of 2009 and this will grow to 65 by the end of 2012.
Etihad's growing female pilot community (Left to right) Rebecca Hillyard; Shereen Al Mazroui; Shareefa Al Bloushi; Rose Omari; Salma Al Baloushi; Hamda Al Qubaisi.