“As a Dubai resident for over 30 years, the Dubai Airshow was the most exciting and inspiring event I looked forward to growing up. Year on year, I knew flying was my passion. It's where my heart belongs.
With God's blessing and the great support from family, mentors and friends, I took my first steps towards achieving my dream in 1997. Almost 20 years later, I am now proudly an A320 captain with the largest budget airline in the Middle East, Air Arabia.
It wasn't an all straight- and-level, clear skies journey though...
I started my flight training in 1997 in Egypt. Completed my commercial pilot training in Canada. Being an Egyptian citizen, my career as an airline pilot was planned to takeoff out of Egypt in 2001, smooth flight, CAVOK. However, that route was cancelled UFN, due September 11 economic repercussion.
My planned alternate was Dubai. Started a new round of worldwide applications. I got an opening with Egypt's airline in 2004. Cleared all selection processes and ground school by 2006. However, my ab-initio course was halted as they did not accept that I wore hijab. Decision was Dubai again, enter hold, nominate new alternates...
In that hold, between 2001 and 2009, I started a career in Marketing. Worked with multinationals in the printing industry, events management, FMGC and finally business jets. I also completed my Business Management diploma and got my UAE pilot license. Diverse experience, priceless!
In 2010, I got an opening with Air Arabia for ab-initio training on A320. I flew as first officer till 2017, when I got my fourth stripe.
This journey has taught me: be thankful for the hurdles you face. They are only meant to make you stronger and prouder of your achievements. Also, never stop learning!
One of the funniest questions im asked, is if I faced any obstacles, being a woman in the Middle East. In fact, it was my mother who encouraged me to become a pilot and supported me all way through. Bearing in mind, I have no family members in the aviation industry.
My key advice to fellow aviatrices: if you can't find a path, create your own. No one can stop you, until you decide to.”
Captain Dareen Al-Ayyat
Business Management Diploma.