Saudi Arabia will soon have its first accredited female pilot, the Arab News reported today.
Capt. Hanadi Zakariya Hindi will begin flying one of the jets owned by Kingdom Holding Company Chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal when she completes her advanced pilot proficiency training program in mid-2007 She obtained her commercial pilot’s license last year.
Despite being the first Saudi woman to fly professionally, the 26-year-old Hindi will still need to be driven to the airport by a male driver, a fact she laughed off.
“I am busy building my flying hours and will be attending a short-term course to equip myself with more intimate knowledge of the jet owned by Prince Alwaleed,” Hindi told the Arab News. “I am proud of myself and my family for supporting me, and I’m especially proud of Prince Alwaleed, who hired me. The prince is currently bearing all the cost of the advance training programs.”
Hindi, who wears a veil along with her pilot’s epaulets and trousers, takes pride in being the first Saudi woman to fly professionally. “The aviation industry is no longer a male bastion,” she said, as quoted in the Arab News.
Hindi is convinced that many Saudi women have it in them to succeed. “Saudi women are very ambitious and capable when given the opportunity,” she told the Arab News. “Women are capable of taking on any job monopolized by men.”