WOMEN could soon be flying high as Cathay Pacific launches a campaign for recruits who want to take to the air as pilots. The airline has decided to use its cadet pilot scheme to encourage young Hongkong women to join the profession and ultimately become the first female pilots on Cathay planes. About 70 cadets have graduated from the rigorous training course in Britain and a course in Hongkong, but they have all been men. The director of flight operations, Captain Gerry Clemmow, said he hoped the move would break down the male domination in Asian airlines' cockpit crews and ensure equal opportunities. ''The competition among experienced, qualified pilots wanting to work for Cathay is so great that to date we have not been in a position to accept any of the few women pilots who have applied to join the company,'' he said. ''Working through the cadet pilot scheme, with all applicants starting on the same footing, we will be in a better position to encourage young women in Hongkong to consider flying as a career.'' Dragonair first officer Rosa Chak Suk-ching is believed to be the only Hongkong-born Chinese woman now flying for a commercial airline, although another is waiting to start work soon with Dragonair and the company hopes to eventually employ three women pilots. The general secretary of the Hongkong Aircrew Officers' Association, John Findlay, said women were accepted throughout the industry. ''We are delighted that Cathay Pacific Airways is now moving with the times,'' he said. ''We believe that women pilots make a valuable contribution to aviation and their professionalism is undoubted. ''We look forward to welcoming the first woman pilot into membership of our association.'' Applicants for the Cathay cadet scheme do not need any experience but must have an aptitude for flying, be permanent Hongkong residents aged between 18 and 25, have 20/20 vision and good academic qualifications including written and spoken English.