SUNBIZ

Fiji Airways Captain Seini, Wife, Mother, Daughter

She is amongst a growing number of women pilots rising through the ranks with our national airline and into command positions.
10 May 2020 11:54
Fiji Airways Captain Seini, Wife, Mother, Daughter
From left: Fiji Airways First Officer Vinay Kumar, Captain Seini Koroitamana Cornish and Captain Jimilai Baledrokadroka.

Having a great support system is crucial for Fiji Airways Boeing 737 Jet Captain Seini Koroitamana Cornish.

She is amongst a growing number of women pilots rising through the ranks with our national airline and into command positions.

It underscores the positive efforts of Fiji Airways and their leadership in this area.

At the same time, Captain Koroitamana Cornish is able to be a proud mother of two young sons.

Originally from Lawaki in Kadavu, she was born and raised in Nadi.

She was educated at Nadi Airport School and later in Natabua High School. She is the daughter of Jone and Akanisi Koroitamana.

Her father, the late Mr Koroitamana was Fiji’s first local senior Air Traffic Controller and chief executive officer of the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji and Airports Fiji Limited.

Captain Koroitamana Cornish is married to Clayton Cornish, who is also a Captain with Fiji Airways and they have two sons, Alfred and Seth.

Fiji Airways Captain Seini Koroitamana Cornish with her two sons, Alfred (right) and Seth (left).

Fiji Airways Captain Seini Koroitamana Cornish with her two sons, Alfred (right) and Seth (left).

Below are excerpts from an interview with Captain Koroitamana Cornish:

When did you start your training to become a pilot?

I started in 2002 at the Pacific Flying School.

What attracted you to this career?

My family was the greatest influence in my career choice. My father worked at the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji for many years and we lived right next to Nadi International Airport.

As a result all my family members who came to start training in Nadi to work as pilots, engineers and cabin crew came to live with us during their initial stage of training.

So I imagine the seed was planted much earlier on in my mind.

What are some of your ambitions?

I aspire to achieve my personal definition of success which is to be the best I can be in all aspects of my life and to be useful to my family and extended family.

My father always told me that all I had to do was work hard and my path would unfold in front of me.

I also have goals, but I prefer to keep that personal until I attain it.

How do you manage the demands of professional and personal commitments?

I have a great support system, I live in the same neighbourhood with my parents and extended family.

I am blessed to have a supportive husband and great women in my life who make it possible for me to have the privilege of being both a mother and a professional.

Has your professional background in any way shaped your role as a mother?

I like to think being a pilot is a discipline that’s created through practice, learning (knowledge), consistency, resilience and patience.

These attributes are a daily requirement when raising children, so I’m blessed to have had some training in my career before being blessed with children.

What are the challenges and opportunities of being a female pilot?

It’s a challenge to be part of a working group that generally doesn’t think like a woman if you are a woman.

But I was willing to learn and adapt to my environment, because I knew the knowledge gained would heavily outweigh any little discomforts.

I must be honest though and say as I became a mother and a wife the challenges grew. This is where a support system is a requirement to move forward. I once read: Trying to do it all and expecting it all can be done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment.

Less than five per cent of airline pilots worldwide are women. Why do you think this might be the case, and do you think the situation is changing?

My personal opinion is although the world is offering better opportunities for women, we as women are still unable to tackle some of the great obstacles that come with the territory.

I’ve learnt that Superwoman is the greatest adversary of the women’s movement. But not everyone has support and without it women won’t be able to dream let alone achieve it.

What does the industry need to do to attract more women to this profession?

I’ve been a pilot in Fiji Airways for 14 years and a mother for almost almost 12 years. This is the first year, I’ve been asked to write down my experiences as a mother/pilot.

I think the industry is changing to influence women more then ever and for that I am grateful.

I think it would be helpful to show women in all industries that’s it possible to stay working long term with support where needed as I’m aware is exactly the direction we are currently moving in today.

What is your advice to young females who are planning to pursue a career in aviation?

Be brave and lean in to your dreams. Despite all the challenges many women before us have found a way and so will we.

Try to anticipate your challenges as best you can and never give up because nothing good comes easy.

But above all remember the words of Oprah Winfrey:

You CAN have it all, you just can’t have it all at once.

God bless you all and I wish you the very best on your journey in achieving your dreams.

What would be your Mother’s Day message?

Woman, how divine your mission,

Here upon our natal sod;

Keep—oh, keep the young heart open

Always to the breath of God!

All true trophies of the ages

Are from mother-love impearled,

For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world.

William Wallace.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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