Pilot at Middle East Airlines
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.
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.
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.”