ዘኩርዕ ዜና፥ ኤርትራዊት ጓል ኣንስተይቲ የሩሳለም መልከ ናይ ኣይር ተክኒሻን እያ ኣብ ናይ ጆን ኤፍ ከነዲ ኢንተርነሽኔል ኣይርፖርት ትሰርኽ ኣላ።
Jerusalem Melke has spent more sleepless nights at John F. Kennedy International Airport than even the most road-weary frequent flier, although she is there by design. Melke is an aircraft technician for JetBlue Airways, and her workday starts at 10 p.m. “The terminal is pretty desolate at night, but outside the hangar it’s bustling,” she said.
Service vehicles zip around, pulling planes and moving jet bridges. There’s engine noise, hydraulic bursts, walkie-talkie chatter and music on loudspeakers. “It could be salsa, bachata, rock, soul—it depends who puts theirs on first,” she said.
Melke and her fellow aircraft techs perform regular maintenance checks on JetBlue planes. In addition to the engines, she is responsible for anything that spins, opens, lights up or turns on—think cockpit dials, cargo doors, wing flaps, windshield wipers.
The job is part mechanic, part engineer and part ninja. “You’re climbing on things all the time—on top of the wing, under the engine, up on the tail—and you’re problem-solving,” Melke said. “I like that it’s mental and physical.”
Melke was hooked on air travel from her first flight at age 9, in 1991. Her family joined dozens of other immigrant families on a homecoming trip to Asmara, capital of the newly independent Eritrea. It was the first commercial flight into the East African city after nearly 30 years of civil war. “When we landed, everybody’s relatives were there—hundreds of people cheering as we got off the plane, like we were celebrities,” she recalled.