• Wed
  • Sep 17, 2014
  • Updated: 9:21pm

Breaking new ground at 30,000 feet

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 March, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 March, 1994, 12:00am

PAKISTAN International Airways' (PIA) Maliha Sami entered her name into the aviation history books last month when she became the first Pakistani woman pilot to operate a scheduled wide-body Airbus A-300 flight on the Karachi-Quetta-Islamabad run.


Maliha Sami, who is one of the first female pilots in Pakistan, has also had the singular distinction of being the first Pakistani woman pilot to operate a scheduled Fokker flight on the Karachi-Panjgur-Turbat-Gwadar sector, about four years ago.


First Officer Maliha Sami worked for the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan for more than six years, where she flew small, twin-engined aircraft as a navigational co-pilot.


During her tenure at the authority, she attended several refresher and training courses in the United States.


During the 12-week technical training course at PIA'S Training Centre, Maliha scored an average of 80 per cent and secured fourth position in the class.


She has also attended an intensive three-week training programme in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Maliha comes from a conservative Muslim family in Quetta, Baluchistan.


''I had to struggle and fight for my rights . . . for my independence . . . for equal opportunities,'' she said.


''I am the only girl in a family of five boys and, believe me, it took some convincing.


''Initially, it wasn't easy. But, later, my family was supportive and now they are thrilled that I have stuck it out and achieved my ambitious goals.'' With her eyes are set on acquiring even greater heights, Maliha takes great pride in her achievements.


She said that operating a wide-bodied aircraft, equipped with the most sophisticated technology, had given a new dimension to the thrill of flying.


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