Surinam’s first female Pilot-in-Command makes inaugural flight to CJIA


hh[] “Girls don’t become pilots, girls become stewardesses.” Astrid Deira, the first female Surinam Airways Pilot-in-Command to fly a Boeing 737, recalled those were the words said to her by one of her teachers when she signaled her intention to become a pilot at the tender age of eight.

After guiding Surinam Airways (SLM) Flight 421 – her inaugural flight – to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) this morning April 12, 2014, Captain Deira lamented to media operatives that through determination and sacrifice her dream was fulfilled. Her passion for soaring the sky can be credited to her father, who worked at SLM.

The local SLM office organized a simple congratulatory ceremony as a nod to her accomplishment.

Captain Deira began working at Surinam Airways 27 years ago as an Administrative staff “doing books.” However, during that period the bilingual pilot was saving money 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.unnamedjjj

During her 22 years in the sky, Captain Deira has flown two of Guyana’s Heads of State, and numerous Suriname’s Government officials. And now she is accorded the opportunity to fly the Suriname/Georgetown/Miami route.

Her advice for young ladies, who want to follow in her footsteps, is “though there will be setbacks, if you really want it, go for it!”




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