Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Women Empowerment Takes Off In Saudi’s Aviation Industry With 1st All-Female Crew

By Ruchi Singh

In a development being hailed as a milestone for female empowerment in the conservative country, an airline in Saudi Arabia completed the kingdom’s first flight with an all-female crew. The news was confirmed by officials on 21 May. The flight, which was operated by flyadeal, a low-cost Saudi airline- a subsidiary of the country’s flag carrier- Saudia, took off from the capital city of Riyadh and flew to the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on 19 May, flyadeal spokesman Emad Iskandarani told the media.

Iskandarani further noted that a “majority” of the seven-member crew were Saudi women, including the first officer. However, the captain was a foreign woman. The officials who confirmed the development this Saturday belonged to Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority. In recent years, the authority has endorsed expanding roles for women in the aviation sector.

It had announced the first flight with a female Saudi co-pilot in 2019. This event, and developments since then fall in line with the trend of Saudi officials trying to rapidly expand the aviation sector, with designs on turning the country into a global travel hub. The ambitious aims include increasing the annual passenger traffic to 330 million passengers by 2030- more than triple the current number. Other listed goals are: to pull in $100 billion in investments in the sector by the end of the present decade, build a “mega-airport” in the capital, set up a new national flag carrier, and to transport up to five million tonnes of cargo per annum.

However, industry analysts have been questioning the ability of Saudi-based airlines to potentially compete against reputed regional players such as Emirates and Qatar Airways.


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