At age 46, Surinam Airways pilot, Astrid Deira is living a dream with every take off. She is the first female Surinam Pilot-in-Command to fly a Boeing 737.
Captain Deira recalls the words that were said to her by one of her teachers when she said she wanted to become a pilot.
“Girls don’t become pilots, girls become stewardesses”, she said the teacher told her but she was not going to allow that to ruin her dreams.
After guiding Surinam Airways (SLM) Flight 421 to Guyana, Captain Deira lamented to media operatives that through determination and sacrifice her dream was fulfilled. Her passion forsoaring the sky can be credited to her father, who worked at SLM.
The local Surinam Airways office organized a simple congratulatory ceremony at the airport to welcome the pilot.
Captain Deira began working at Surinam Airways 27 years ago as an Administrative staff “doing books.” However, during that period, she saved her earnings to obtain her pilot license.
“It took me five years to achieve this,” she said smilingly.
After a few years honing her skills in her homeland, Captain Deira turned her sights to larger aircraft such as the Airbus 340 as a co-pilot. The veteran pilot, who has vowed to do everything to keep the airline going after her retirement, said that her experience so far has been a pleasant one.
“…it was awkward at first as a woman. It is a job which you have to earn and work hard,” the 45 year-old admitted.
During her 22 years in the sky, Captain Deira has flown two of Guyana’s Heads of State, andnumerous Suriname’s Government officials. And now she is accorded the opportunity to fly the Suriname/Georgetown/Miami route.
She advises young ladies who want to follow in her footsteps, that “though there will be setbacks, if you really want it, go for it!”