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Published: Friday February 24, 2012 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday May 25, 2013 MYT 1:05:58 AM

Woman pilot urges female undergrads to reach for the skies

SUBANG JAYA: First officer Erni Heruna Masut recalls the challenges she faced while studying to be a pilot.

“I was the only woman in my class and had to prove myself to the 20 male students. It was tough because this is still a male-dominated industry and I was constantly compared to the guys.

“But I persevered because being a pilot was my life-long dream,” said Erni, 31, who was one of airline operator Firefly's first female pilots.

Today, Erni, who is married with a one-year-old child, holds a Commercial Pilot's Licence and an Airline Transport Pilot Licence, but says that it is still a challenge to balance her lifestyle as a pilot and motherhood.

Erni and second officer Sofia Sani were guest speakers at Firefly's three-hour session yesterday to promote career opportunities for women within the aviation industry to female undergraduates.

Sofia, 26, said women working in male-dominated industries such as engineering and aviation have to “be strong”.

She said many opportunities were now available for women in the aviation industry, as with many industries which were commonly perceived as male-dominated, and encouraged students to chase their dreams.

Six guest speakers including the airline company's first female engineer spoke at the event which was held at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport here yesterday.

There were 23 students from the Aviation Management College and Universiti Teknologi Mara at the event, which was held in conjunction with the upcoming 2012 International Women's Day.

“By providing an insight into aviation, we hope to inspire aspiring female undergraduates to consider this as a meaningful career path.

“There is a bright future in this industry and we need passionate and committed young people,” said Firefly chief operating officer Ignatius Ong.

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