Women in Aviation

by Adelaide Kari – EM TV News, Port Moresby

It usually takes around 15 years for an aircraft maintenance engineer to become licenced with Air Niugini, but for 30-year-old Brownwein Kasito from Eastern Highlands province, it took her only five years.

The softly spoken Kasito, the second female national at Air Niugini to be a licenced aircraft maintenance engineer, said that the hardest part was getting into the aviation industry.

“The hardest part is not the job itself but it’s actually getting into aviation and getting in the hours to get your licence,” she said.

Kasito, unlike the other 36 cadet engineers who are currently going through the engineering program, self-studied and sat for her exams here in PNG. She said that makes her very proud that she gained her licence here in PNG.

“I spent two years working as Airlink specialist engineer then when Airlink closed I requested to take up avionic engineers with the Fokker 70 and Fokker 100. I self-studied, while working and at the same time sitting for exams,” Kasito said.

She jokes and said she doesn’t have a social life and isn’t married because there is no time when it comes to her job. She said that she has only two lifelong best friends that stick around.

Kasito is one out of four female avionic maintenance engineers, the second licenced engineer is Lyasi Bundu and the other two aircraft maintenance engineers are Cindy Kala and June Taumumu.

Aircraft maintenance manager, John Robert, told EMTV News that he is proud that Air Niugini has four female aircraft engineers. He said that Air Niugini has 54 licenced engineers and of those 54, two are females.

“We have 52 male licenced engineers so it’s good to see Brownwein [being] another female to get licensed,” he said.

We ask Robert how hard it is to get licences in aircraft engineering, and he said, “Engineers usually study for four to five years then have a work experience of two years before choosing a specific aircraft to be licensed to. Then studying that particular plane takes another four years, so you understand how long it takes and how many years engineers have to go through to get their license.”

He also makes mention that Brownwein took only five years, and that it was a proud moment for Air Niugini.

Brownwein said she felt empowered working in a field that is dominated by males.

“They are great to work with, with the older engineers they have daughters and see me like a daughter and help out when I’m the only one working or if I need help. At the end of the day, even if we have arguments amongst ourselves we always get the job done and done right.”

Kasito completed her schooling at Ukarumpa International School, then went on to Lae University of Technology to study Applied Physics. She worked with Air Niugini under Airlink then later moved to PX. After three years in the office and five years on the line as an avionic engineer she received her licence last November.

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