New initiatives are making it easier for Saudi women to pursue aviation careers.

The Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation is interviewing 130 female applicants for its air traffic control course.

The students are the second batch of applicants to the programme, which is the first of its kind in the kingdom to include women. At the end of the course, students will graduate with a Saudi Air Traffic Control Academy diploma and will be hired by Saudi Air Navigation Services as air traffic controllers.

Students must study a total of 13 subjects, including physics, mathematics, aviation language, basic aerodynamic training and tower control.

Saudi Air Naviation Services chief executive officer Ryyan Tarabzoni told the Saudi Gazette back in March that employing Saudi women in the profession was a top priority in line with the goal of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 to support and empower Saudi women.

 

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The state-owned company plans to train 80 women a year to work in the male-dominated field.

Earlier this month, the Oxford Aviation Academy in Dammam also opened its doors to women, receiving hundreds of applications from aspiring female pilots.

The academy, which operates from King Fahad International Airport, is also the first in the kingdom to train both men and women.

There are just two female pilots in Saudi Arabia. Hanadi Zakaria Hindi made history as the first Saudi woman to become a commercial pilot. She studied at Jordan’s Middle East Academy of Aviation, passing her final exams in 2005.

While she obtained her commercial pilot’s licence in 2006, she wasn’t certified to fly within Saudi Arabia until 2013, when she received a licence from the Jeddah-based General Authority of Civil Aviation.

Yasmeen Mohammad Al Maimani became the second Saudi woman to receive a commercial pilot license from the authority in 2014. She also trained in Jordan.

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