Iran?s national airline opens doors to women pilots

By Prarthana Mitra 

Farzaneh Sharafbafi, the chief executive officer of Iran Air, announced on March 11 that women pilots will now be recruited by the airline. In a new recruitment advertisement, the oldest Iranian airline, also known as Homa, created history by its decision to welcome women pilots for the first time ever.

Iran Air, the flag carrier of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is headquartered in Tehran and flies to more than 25 domestic destinations and dozens of other cities in Asia and Europe. Sharafbafi said she thinks it was “highly significant” to have female pilots in the airline.

Shrafbafi, 44, who became the first female chief executive of the airline in 2017, is one of the 4,000 women presently working in Iran’s aviation industry, with 16% of them holding the top and middle-managerial positions. She was also the first woman in Iran to get a PhD in aerospace engineering.

“Women can play a key role in the social development as well as the realization of social justice in a society,” Sharfbafi said in an interview with the Tehran Times.

Sharfbafi added the employment of pilots—male and female—will be done according to the procedures set up by the airline and the women who will be recruited will start work as co-pilots in training.

In Iran, women are still required to wear a headscarf in public, including on aeroplanes and as part of international delegations. Although women in Iran have been allowed to fly planes for several years, the flag-carrier did not permit them to do so until now.