Pi­lot at Mid­dle East Air­lines

Executive Magazine - - Special Report | In Photos -

Jour­ney and mo­ti­va­tion

While still a math­e­mat­ics stu­dent at the Amer­i­can Uni­ver­sity of Beirut, a friend jok­ingly showed Rola Hoteit a news­pa­per ad­ver­tise­ment for a pi­lot posi- tion at MEA. She took it as a chal­lenge and she sat for the exam and passed.

Oth­ers’ per­cep­tions

Hoteit be­lieves that men’s per­cep­tion of women pi­lots is chang­ing with time, even though there are still less fe­male pi­lots in the Arab world than in Europe. Twenty years af­ter join­ing MEA, she is still the only fe­male pi­lot in the com­pany. She ex­plains that some air­craft op­er­a­tors still call her “sir” when com­mu­ni­cat­ing with her.


At first, Hoteit’s fa­ther dis­ap­proved of her ca­reer choice, hop­ing she would con­tinue her math­e­mat­ics stud­ies. How­ever, she even­tu­ally suc­ceeded in con­vinc­ing him it was the right choice and now he is very proud of her. As for her col­leagues, Hoteit says that her first two years as copi­lot were dif­fi­cult, as oth­ers weren’t used to see­ing a woman in the cock­pit.

Fu­ture projects

She plans to fin­ish her mas­ter’s de­gree in phi­los­o­phy, and hopes to open a book­store in Le­banon.


Hoteit di­rects ad­vice at men, say­ing, “Let women dream, they are ca­pa­ble of do­ing any­thing.”

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