Cebuana pilots first AirAsia Manila-Davao flight

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Friday, March 27, 2015

DAVAO. Department of Tourism-Davao Regional Director Robby Alabado (left) receives a token of appreciation from AirAsia Philippines CEO Joy Cañeba (right). At the center is AirAsia Captain Gisela Z. Bendong. (Jean Mondonedo-Ynot/Sunnex)

DAVAO CITY -- AirAsia Philippines re-launched on Friday, March 27, its Manila-Davao flight with an all-female crew, led by a Cebuana captain, manning its Flight Z2 611.

Gisela Z. Bendong is the first woman pilot of AirAsia Philippines, which is now flying to Davao from Manila three times daily.

Bendong is based in Cebu and has been a pilot for about 15 years now.

"I came from a family of pilots, so I grew up wanting to also fly planes since I was a child," said Bendong, a graduate of Cebu Aeronautical Technical School.

She said she's happy to have excelled in the industry once dominated by men, but added that she did not experience discrimination in her job as a pilot.

"I've been flying for years now, with flights from Cebu and Davao, pabalik-balik lang... I've been trained to command planes, and pareho lang naman ang training sa men and women pilots," she said.

She said whether male or female pilot, their first priority is to fly smooth and safe.

Aside from Bendong, AirAsia's Flight Z2 611 was co-piloted by First Officer Andrea Maria R. Halaquena. The cabin crew was composed of flight attendants Blanche Garcia, Christine Shane Dinong, Anjeline Garchitorena, Marah Gaa, Mayumi Arima, and Jana Trajano.

AirAsia Philippines' Chief Executive Office Joy Cañeba said Friday that their women pilots and crew have been working closely with their male counterparts, and AirAsia has been very proud of its contributions to the aviation industry.

She said their first Manila to Davao flight was manned by all-female crew in celebration of the Women's Month.

About 40 percent of AirAsia Philippines' staff is composed of women, said Cañeba. (Sunnex)


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