Hawaiian Airlines welcomes its first mother-daughter pilot duo, marking a historical moment for the carrier. The mother, Captain Kamelia Zarka, and daughter Maria were all smiles as they broke barriers in a heavily male-dominated industry.
A huge achievement
After being in service for a total of 93 years, September 1st, 2022 became a memorable day for Hawaiian Airlines as they celebrated the achievement of Captain Kamelia Zarka and her daughter Maria. The pair shared the flight deck of a Boeing 717 where they welcomed passengers on board and conducted a series of Neighbour Island flights. Captain Zarka shared her delight that experiencing such a moment with her daughter brought to her with Today’s Parents.
“I can’t reiterate how much of a gift sharing the cockpit with my daughter, Maria, was to me, I always knew Maria would be a fantastic pilot — she’s always been brilliant and professional — but sitting next to her as she flew the plane with such skill and ease still blew me away.”
Daughter, Maria too expressed her joy and admiration for her mother’s growing legacy.
“I feel fortunate to have a mom who has worked hard to pave the way for other females as the first Tongan female to captain a commercial airline,” Maria said, according to a statement. “And now it’s my turn. I’m looking forward to continuing my mom’s legacy while making my own mark as a Hawaiian Airlines pilot.”
This is not the first time such a goal has been attained as a pilot duo for an airline as Southwest Airlines recently welcomed Captain Holly Petitt and her daughter Keely Petitt as their first mother and daughter pilot duo.
Paving The Way
For Captain Kamelia Zarka, this was not her first reached milestone in her aviation career. Zarka’s remarkable success story began in the year of 1992 when she first became a flight attendant for Hawaiian Airlines. This was only the beginning, as working for the airlines led to her longing for a pilot career and investing in pilot training. In 1999, Kamelia’s dream became a reality as she not only became a pilot but also the ‘first Tongan woman to captain a commercial airline‘. At this time, this was seen as unachievable, as only 4% of pilots were women. Through this, Captain Kamilia Zarka has indeed broken barriers and become an inspiration to all women, particularly Polynesian women who have longed for a similar career and admire her success.
This is truly an amazing story and a special moment for Hawaiian Airlines! Share your thoughts below.