Women in aviation breakthrough

National

Two young women are among a group of 21 Air Niugini cadets who received their European-certified aircraft maintenance engineering (AME) licences on Tuesday.
Linda Eremas, 27, from East New Britain and Elena Mai, 21, from Gulf, proudly received their United Kingdom European Aviation (EASA) AME licences.
Eremas told The National that studying and training in a male-dominated field was a challenge, but the men accepted them.
“Gender-wise, it was all good,” she said.
“The last school I attended before joining the AME training was Don Bosco Technical Institute where I earned a trade certificate in electronics.
“When I finished there, I applied to Air Niugini to work as a support technician.
“The job was mostly involved with dealing with wiring in aircraft.”
Eremas said her older male colleagues urged her to apply for the AME cadet programme when it came up.
Her application was successful and she and others were sent to the Air New Zealand Aviation Institute in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2013.
“It has been a long and challenging journey,” Eremas said.
“When we graduated from there in 2014, Air New Guinea sent us to Hawker Pacific, in Cairns, where it sends its Dash 8 aircraft to be maintained.
“We did two years of on-job training there, working on our own national planes, plus other planes from abroad.”
Mai says it’s the realisation of a dream for both Eremas and herself.
“This was what we set our goal for, the first time went down to New Zealand,” she said.
“After four years, this is the end result.
“I’d like to thank Air Niugini for providing us this opportunity for us to train in world-recognised institutions and come back and work for them.
“We are thankful to the staff at Air New Zealand Aviation Institute, and also to Aviation Australia and Hawker Pacific Cairns.
“I extend an immense word of thanks as well to our families for their support.”

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