Home Business & Finance Etihad Airways celebrates Captain Shareef Al Romaithi’s remarkable journey to the historic NASA simulated Mars mission

Etihad Airways celebrates Captain Shareef Al Romaithi’s remarkable journey to the historic NASA simulated Mars mission


ABU DHABI: Etihad Airways is celebrating the achievements of Captain Shareef Al Romaithi, the Etihad pilot who has been selected as a primary crew member for the second analog study of MBRSC’s UAE Analog Programme, as part of NASA’s Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) Campaign 7 Mission 2. The mission will simulate a journey to Mars, with Al Romaithi and crewmembers living and working in isolation inside the HERA habitat for 45 days.

Al Romaithi began his career with Etihad Airways in 2007, joining the first batch of Etihad’s cadet pilot programme and became the first Etihad cadet pilot to transition to Captain status.

Al Romaithi holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, alongside three master’s degrees obtained from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. These advanced degrees specialise in aerospace and aviation management, safety systems, and space operations, respectively. Driven by his passion for aviation, Al Romaithi continued to pursue his studies while working as a pilot for the national airline, eventually earning his PhD in aviation.

Sponsored by Etihad Airways, he completed his doctoral studies at the renowned Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2014. Al Romaithi’s achievement marked a significant milestone, as he became the first Emirati to earn a PhD in this field, and holds the distinction of being the youngest individual and only the eighth person worldwide to attain this prestigious degree.

Dr. Nadia Bastaki, Chief People and Corporate Affairs Officer said: “We are immensely proud of Shareef’s accomplishments, which hold great significance not only for Etihad but also for the UAE nation and the aviation industry. From the start, Etihad has believed in Shareef’s abilities and his journey from cadet pilot to space explorer is a testament to his exceptional talent and determination. At Etihad we give flight to ambition and this is testimony to that purpose.

“We remain committed to supporting and nurturing national talent and pushing boundaries in the aviation industry. Shareef’s academic foundation, combined with over 16 years of experience flying various aircraft types in the Etihad fleet, has prepared him with the expertise and leadership necessary for his selection as a key crew member for the NASA simulated Mars mission. We stand ready to support Shareef as he embarks on this historic mission.”

Al Romaithi has extensive experience with Etihad, including more than 9,000 flight hours on multiple aircraft types within the Airbus and Boeing fleets of Etihad Airways.

Reflecting on his journey, Captain Shareef Al Romaithi, said: “Choosing to work with Etihad was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Etihad’s ambitious and growing environment allowed me to expand my knowledge and ambitions and provided me with the opportunity to work with a young and technologically advanced fleet. I’m grateful for Etihad for opening the doors for my career and academic pursuits, and for preparing me for this momentous undertaking—shaping my path from the cockpit to space exploration.”

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