Saudi Arabia issues first pilot license to woman
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/26/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Women may still not be able to drive cars there - but Saudi Arabia has granted the first pilot license to a woman this week. Thirty-five-year-old Hanadi Al-Hindi obtained her license from the kingdom's General Authority of Civil Aviation.
Hanadi Al-Hindi, who wears a headscarf, has begun flying small and wide-bodied luxury planes belonging to a fleet from the Kingdom Holding Company (KHC).
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Speaking to Saudi Arabia via a long-distance phone call from the United States, she told reporters that she already had a "Commercial Pilot's License" (CPL) and an "Instrument Rating" (IR) from the Jordanian Mid-East Aviation Academy.
She became Saudi Arabia's first female pilot after being hired by the Saudi Kingdom Holding Company. She was not allowed to fly in her own country because she had no Saudi license, according to the Saudi Gazette.
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Al-Hindi, who wears a headscarf, has begun flying small and wide-bodied luxury planes belonging to a fleet from the Kingdom Holding Company (KHC).
Khaled Al-Khaibary, a GACA spokesman, neither confirmed nor denied awarding the license to Al-Hindi, saying he would verify the information next week.
Al-Hindi, however, confirmed receipt of the license via telephone from the United States.
"Saudi women are capable of taking on any job previously held exclusively by men in Saudi Arabia," she said.
Al-Hindi refused to divulge any further information owing to contractual obligations and sensitivity surrounding the topic.
"I have, however, taken on a private initiative to counsel Saudi students in the U.S. who are willing to pursue a career in aviation," Al-Hindi says. "Exciting opportunities await candidates in this field.
"I was not registered (before) as a pilot with the General Authority of Civil Aviation, which is why I was not able to fly in my country, and that was really difficult, being a pilot who cannot fly in her own country," Al-Hindi is reported as saying.
The patriarchal kingdom is often criticized by human rights groups over the many restrictions imposed on its women. Opportunities have been opening up for Saudi women in the business world.
Sarah Al-Suhaimi became the first female chief executive of an investment bank in the kingdom in March. The Ministry of Justice licensed the first four women attorneys in the kingdom to practice law last year.
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