First flight with all-female crew in Saudi Arabia

First flight with all-female crew in Saudi Arabia

An airline from Saudi Arabia made the country’s first flight with an all-female crew, authorities in the ultra-conservative kingdom, which is seeking to improve its image, reported on Saturday.

The plane, operated by flyadeal, flew from the capital Riyadh to the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on Thursday, company spokesman Emad Iskandarani said.

The seven crew members were all Saudi women, except for the pilot, who was of another nationality, Iskandarani said.

The Saudi civil aviation authority, which confirmed the announcement by flyadeal, a subsidiary of the national airline Saudia, welcomed the support for the inclusion of women in this field.

In 2019, the authority announced the first flight with a Saudi female co-pilot.

Since the rise of the young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler since 2017, Saudi Arabia has experienced a relative social openness. Among other measures, women have been authorized to drive in that country in 2018.

In early May, Saudi Arabia announced that it wanted to become a world hub for air transport and triple its annual traffic to reach 330 million passengers before the end of the decade.

The government plans to inject 100 billion dollars into the sector by 2030, launch a new national airline and build a new “mega airport” in the capital.

Some analysts, however, question the ability of Saudi airlines to compete with other heavyweights in the region, such as Emirates or Qatar Airways.

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