Air Vanuatu Pilot Becomes First Woman To Fly ATR72-600 Plane

27-year-old excited to be flying larger planes

Compiled by Jane Joshua

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 9, 2017) – Twenty-seven-year-old First Officer Katura Marae has made history to become Vanuatu’s first female pilot to fly the new ATR72-600 YJ-AV73.

It was with extreme pride that Air Vanuatu made the announcement on its Facebook page yesterday, hailing another milestone in its 30 years of operation.

In an interview with Vanuatu Nightly News’ (VNN) Kizzy Kalsakau, Miss Marae acknowledged the accomplishment as a big step.

“I am privileged and I am thankful for this,” she said. “Getting promoted is a big step in my career.

“Flying the ATR was challenging at first, getting to know the new aircraft but I am now getting used to it.

“I love my job, it is something different to what I was on before when I first joined Air Vanuatu but it motivates me to move in this career path.”

Several contenders applied for the position at the end of 2016, which was secured by Miss Marae.

“Like the ATR72-500, the ATR72-600’s domestic routes include Tanna and Santo,” she explained.

“International routes include Noumea, Nadi and sometimes Suva.”

Marae started as First Officer, flying the National Carrier’s Twin Otters in 2013, after completing her studies in New Zealand and managed her way up to operate bigger aircrafts.

Advancing this far in this field has its challenges but not that many.

“The only challenge would be I am the only female pilot but that does not bother me, I am happy to learn from all the male pilots, ” she said.

“Individually they all taught me different things and I learn from them.

“I am happy to work with them.

“Everyone is different and I learn new things every day.”

To all the girls and boys who are looking for a career or already have that career in mind, Miss Marae said, “Whatever you have in mind, go for it.

“Do something that you love, so that everyday you are doing something you love, and not just for the sake of doing it.

“It does not have to be a pilot, if one’s interest is in a certain field in Agriculture, if they love doing that then they should build their passion at an early age and continue on doing that.”

Meanwhile Air Vanuatu’s post on its facebook page had over 1,000 likes and reactions and more than 200 shares in less than eight hours as well wishers congratulated her.

Miss Marae is truly an inspiration and a role model.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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So proud that a Pacific Islander female has made history in the skies.

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