In a first, the Saudi airline hails a flight with an all-female crew

New Delhi: In a first, a flight in Saudi Arabia was operated by an all-female crew. Airline Flyadeal took off the first flight with the all-female crew from the capital, Riyadh, to Jeddah on Thursday, May 19.

“For the first time in Saudi aviation history! #flyadeal operated the first flight with an all-female crew, the majority of whom are Saudi women aboard the latest A320. Flight 117 flew from #Riyadh to # Jeddah,” the airline tweeted.

The flight operated by flyadeal, budget subsidiary of Saudia airline, was from the capital Riyadh to the coastal city of Jeddah on Thursday, Flyadeal spokesman Emad Iskandarani said.

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The “majority” of the seven crew members were Saudi women, including the first officer, but not the captain, who was a foreign woman, Iskandarani said.

Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority, which confirmed flyadeal’s announcement on Saturday, touted the increasing roles of women in the aviation sector in recent years.

In 2019, the authority announced the first flight with a Saudi co-pilot. The country’s civil aviation authority has worked to expand the roles of women in the sector over the years. Women’s participation in the kingdom’s workforce rose to 33% at the end of 2020, from 19% in 2016, according to data from the General Statistics Authority (GASTAT).

Women’s employment in labor-intensive sectors such as construction, manufacturing and accommodation and food increased by 9, 14 and 40% respectively between the start of 2019 and the end of 2019. of 2020, according to GASTAT data.

Women’s employment has been boosted under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s Vision 2030 economic diversification plan. In recent years, the kingdom has implemented a wave of economic and social reforms that have facilitated women’s access to employment.

Airlines, airport operators, airport businesses (restaurants and retail), aircraft manufacturers and air navigation service providers employ 138,000 people

in Saudi Arabia. The sector is estimated to support an additional 47,000 jobs through the wages it pays its employees, some or all of which is then spent on consumer goods and services.

It is estimated that foreign tourists arriving by air in Saudi Arabia, who spend their money in the local economy, support an additional 295,000 jobs. A total of 594,000 jobs are supported by air transport and tourists arriving by plane.

The airline industry, including airlines and its supply chain, is expected to support US$20.2 billion of GDP in Saudi Arabia. Spending by foreign tourists accounts for an additional US$16.2 billion of the country’s GDP, totaling US$36.5 billion. A total of 5.6% of the country’s GDP is supported by inputs from the air transport sector and foreign tourists arriving by air.

According to the “current trends” scenario, the air transport market in Saudi Arabia is expected to grow by 126% over the next 20 years. This would result in 54.8 million additional passenger trips by 2037. If met, this increased demand would support approximately US$82.3 billion in GDP and nearly 1.2 million jobs.