Captain Kamelia Zarka and her daughter, First Officer Maria Zarka, have just made history, according to the Hawaiian Airlines blog. Flying together on September 1, the two have become Hawaiian Airlines’ very first mother-daughter team in its 93 years in the skies. In celebration, they welcomed passengers onboard the Boeing 717, taking photos and giving out words of encouragement. 


“Flying for Hawaiian Airlines with my daughter, side-by-side in the cockpit, was a dream come true for me,” said Kamelia. “I always knew Maria would be a fantastic pilot – she’s always been brilliant and professional – but sitting next to her as she flew the plane with such skill and ease still blew me away.”

Kamelia has been working for Hawaiian Airlines since 1992. She first came onboard as s a flight attendant before transitioning to the role of pilot in 1999. This made her the first Tongan woman to serve as captain of a commercial airline. Maria worked with Republic Airlines prior to being hired by Hawaiian Airlines this April.

A family thing!

“Everybody always tells me how amazing it is to fly with my mom and today I got to experience that,” said Maria. “She’s an amazing pilot and learning from her is learning from one of the best. Now I call her ‘Capt. Mom’.”

“I feel fortunate to have a mom who cares so much and has worked hard to pave the way for other females and me as the first Tongan female to captain a commercial airline. And now it’s my turn. I’m looking forward to continuing my mom’s legacy while making my own mark as a Hawaiian Airlines pilot.”