October 31, 2016:    Jamaican national and Walla Walla College (now Walla Walla University) graduate Handel Wellington has been promoted to the rank of captain at Qatar Airways, the state-owned flag carrier of the country.

The Adventist captain started his career in aviation 15 years ago as load master after graduating from the aviation program at Walla Walla.

He first worked for Continental Express as a first officer on the Embrear 145 Regional Jet in 2005. During the 2009 recession Wellington was furloughed before he found work again at Qatar Airways.

Wellington enjoys working for the airline and has crystal-clear memories of his first flight as captain, fully in control of a Boeing 777 flying from Doha, Qatar to Johannesburg, South Africa.

He told Jamaica’s The Gleaner that “what made it so challenging was that it was my very first flight as captain in charge, and I was flying over some very remote areas of Africa [where] the air-traffic control communication may not have been the best, having to apply various route procedures for different countries in Africa, flying to a high-elevation destination airport with a high workload and robust environment.”

Living in Qatar, the captain is able to practice his Adventist faith by attending his local Adventist Church. The 37-year-old enjoys living with his family in Qatar and has found a diverse community of friends there.

“Qatar is a rich country with a small population. Therefore, the majority of positions in the public and private sectors are filled by international personnel,” said Wellington to The Gleaner.

“If anyone is interested in working here, this is a great time, place and opportunity to build valuable experience. Here you can grow culturally, intellectually and professionally, and be properly rewarded for your hard work with their generous compensation packages,” he said.

Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER; A7-BAF@FRA;16.07.2011/609gt