The flight operated by flyadeal, a budget subsidiary of flag carrier Saudia, was from the capital Riyadh to the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah.
An airline in Saudi Arabia has completed the country’s first flight with an all-female crew, officials said Saturday, framing it as a milestone for women’s empowerment in the conservative kingdom. The flight operated by flyadeal, a budget subsidiary of flag carrier Saudia, was from the capital Riyadh to the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on Thursday, flyadeal spokesman Emad Iskandarani told.
Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority
The “majority” of the seven-member crew were Saudi women, including the first officer, but not the captain, who was a foreign woman, Iskandarani told. Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority, which approved flyadeal’s statement Saturday, has touted expanding roles for women in the aviation sector in current years.
In 2019, the authority declared the first flight with a female Saudi co-pilot. Saudi officials are attempting to engineer a rapid expansion of the aviation sector that would turn the kingdom into an international travel hub.
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Plans include more than tripling annual traffic to 330 million passengers by the end of the decade, drawing $100 billion in investments in the sector by 2030, establishing a new national flag carrier, constructing a new “mega airport” in Riyadh, and moving up to five million tonnes of cargo every year.
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The kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has overseen reforms including lifting a decades-long prohibition on women driving and the easing of so-called “guardianship” rules that give men arbitrary authority over female relatives.
But these have coincided with a crackdown on dissent that has ensnared some of the very women pushing for such changes.
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