Captain Sharifah Czarena (left) and senior first officers Sariana Nordin (middle) and Dk Khashiem
Three female pilots have made history by becoming Royal Brunei Airlines’ first all-female flight crew - and they’re gaining attention because of the destination they flew to on their inaugural flight together. This was a historic moment for the carrier and the flight was also significant because the pilots landed at an airport in Saudi Arabia – a country where women are not permitted to even drive a car.
Captain Sharifah Czarena and senior first officers Sariana Nordin and Dk Nadiah Pg Khashiem were behind the controls of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner on flight BI081 from Brunei to Jeddah. Royal Brunei assigned three female pilots to the 24 February flight as it celebrated Brunei National Day, which marks the state’s full independence from the UK in 1984.
Czarena trained at the Cabair Flying School at Cranfield, Bedfordshire, and operates a number of the state-owned carrier’s major routes. In December 2013, she became the first-ever Royal Brunei pilot to fly out of London Heathrow in its flagship Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
All-female crews have become a trend in recent months. Last week a number of airlines, including Air Canada and Air India, operated long-haul flights staffed by female pilots to coincide with Women of Aviation Worldwide Week.