UAS International Trip Support was delighted to support headline speaker Maya Ghazal at the 34th Annual Women in Aviation International Conference in Long Beach, California on 25 February. 

Since meeting this remarkable young woman during EBACE-BACE in Geneva last May, UAS recognised she was destined for success. Maya has become an inspirational role model for young women pursuing an aviation career. “We are delighted to support her in her own career as a commercial pilot,” said Omar Hosari, Co-owner/founder and CEO at UAS.

Maya fled war in her home country of Syria in 2015.   In 2019 she fulfilled her dream of becoming the first female Syrian refugee pilot, aged 21 and her inspiration was – London Heathrow Airport.

Maya became interested in aviation watching aircraft take off and land while based out of a hotel at Britain’s biggest airport. She asked her mother to join her in its car parks to see the aircraft more closely and changed her plan to study aviation engineering instead of medical engineering. 

Maya’s strong ability in maths and physics helped her secure her chosen university place.  

Under 9% of the world’s pilots are women – what chance for a Syrian refugee pilot. I am one of the lucky ones,” she said. 

In the UK, one third of young people go to University and College. For refugees, that is just 5%. Maya is committed to help her peers define their future so they can give back to society. “We cannot neglect the refugee population, especially girls,” she said, highlighting the need for access to an inclusive education.

Since graduating last year (2021) with a degree in Aviation Engineering and Pilot Studies from Brunel University, London, Maya is now working as a research engineer with the Manufacturing Technology Centre, an R&D non-profit innovation centre based in Coventry with supplemental centres in Oxford, London and Liverpool.  She has been learning about innovative manufacturing processes, writing white papers on engineering and space. Maya splits her time between London and Birmingham and is committed to her charity work. As a Goodwill Ambassador for UHNCR, the UN Refugee Agency, she travelled to Jordan last year to meet fellow Syrian refugees.