Scoot (Singapore low-cost airline) first officer Nicole Chee’s winding path to a B-787 cockpit

Scoot first officer Nicole Chee always had a passion for aviation, but it was only the disappearance of a single word from a job advertisement that opened the path to the right-hand seat of a Boeing 787.

Chee fondly recalls childhood outings to Singapore’s Changi beach, which lies squarely on the approach for the airport’s two parallel runways. She soon discovered that she was an avid plane spotter.

After five years working as cabin crew, Chee took up an office job at SIA, amid a general hiring freeze for new cadets. Then, in 2015, the freeze was lifted, and Chee spotted something unusual about a job advertisement for pilots from Scoot, SIA’s low-cost unit.

“I saw that they had removed the one very key word in their hiring, and they were no longer looking [only] for male candidates. Before that, [airlines] always said ‘we’re looking for male candidates’, but in 2015, when they started hiring after the freeze, they removed that one small, teeny-weeny word ‘male’. I applied and never looked back.”

Not only was Chee the only woman in her cohort of 25 cadets, but also Scoot’s first female cadet pilot. Her training involved considerable time studying in Singapore, as well as flight training in Western Australia.

Finally, after two challenging years, Chee realized her ambition of becoming an airline pilot aboard the B-787.


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