Earlier this month, one woman made headlines across the region by becoming Saudi Arabia’s first female pilot for a commercial airline. Yasmeen Al-Maimani took to the skies six years after obtaining her aviation license from the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), and took to social media immediately her appointment to express her joy. This week, GACA officially celebrated Al-Maimani’s first official flight, marking this milestone moment on the Kingdom’s history.
According to Arab News, GACA represented by the management of Hail International Airport and Nesma Airlines, the latter which Al-Maimani flies for as co-pilot, celebrated the pilot’s flight between Hail International Airport and Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Qassim.
Captain Yasmine - Nesma Airlines Crew
As reported by the news site, Al-Maimani was given the opportunity to become the Kingdom’s first female commercial airline pilot after Nesma Airlines advertised vacant positions for co-pilots on its New Pilots Program. Following the call for applicants, 11 people were accepted including Al-Maimani, who has previously completed 300 hours of flying practice in the United States after getting her qualifications in Jordan, and then exchanging her American license with a Saudi one in 2013.
Following her acceptance into the program, Al-Maimani and other pilots underwent a four-stage training program at Prince Sultan Aviation Academy in Jeddah, including “practice on multi-engine planes with multiple crews.Ground training using an ATR 72-600 aircraft at Nesma Airlines’ training center in Hail followed, before progressing to simulators in Jakarta and Madrid.”
Since the ascension of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to his role in 2017, Saudi Arabia has been working on relaxing decades-old restrictions, diversifying its economy, and modernizing its society, while also implementing major reforms that have improved the lives of Saudi women. As a result, sectors such as aviation have seen a surge in women filling up roles. Over the last two years, women have been hired as female cabin crew, women have been enrolling in flight schools, and traffic control rooms now have women in them.