Saudi Arabia to host first-ever Women in Aviation General Assembly as part of 2nd Saudi Airport Exhibition

Published: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia— As Saudi Arabia accelerates civil aviation growth and development, the Kingdom announced it will host for the first time the first-ever Women in Aviation General Assembly as part of the 2nd Saudi Airport Exhibition scheduled for 19 December 2023.

Saudi Vision 2030 intends to increase women’s participation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030. It currently stands at only 4 percent, according to a study by the Department of Aviation and Management at Prince Sultan University.
“Under the wise guidance of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Crown Prince, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 paves the way for women to be provided equal opportunities across all economic sectors and emphasizes that a prosperous, contemporary nation must inspire and empower all members of society. Our leaders are committed to supporting women in all fields and sectors of space and aerospace and ensuring they play a vital role in achieving our ambitions,” said HRH Prince Fahad bin Mishal bin Saud bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Chairman of the Aviation Association of the Gulf Cooperation Council States and Saudi Aviation Association, who will be delivering a keynote address to the gathering.

A flying academy in Dammam has opened its doors to Saudi women for the very first time and Saudi women pilots have obtained licenses to work as captains with Saudia, the national carrier that already had over 500 Saudi women on its payroll. A shift in aviation policy now allows hiring women as cabin crew and enrollment in flight schools has surged as Saudi women actively seek to become co-pilots.

Up to three dozen Saudi women have now been employed as flight attendants by airlines as part of an initiative to create 10,000 air transport sector jobs for Saudis. As many as 28 professions in the air transport sector have been reserved for Saudi nationals, including pilots, flight attendants and air traffic controllers.

The flag carrier has achieved 100 percent ‘Saudization’ of all its co-pilot positions and for the first time now, more females than males are pursuing graduation. Over 250 Saudi students completed ATC training in New Zealand under a program by the Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS) that is actively working towards creating more job opportunities for women in the ATC sector – the first cohort of female ATCs started work in Jeddah in March 2019.

According to IATA, airlines, airport operators, airport on-site enterprises, aircraft manufacturers, and Air Navigation Service Providers employ 138,000 people in the Kingdom. In total, 594,000 jobs are supported by air transport and tourists arriving by air, while the air transport industry supports US$20.2 billion of the Kingdom’s GDP. In total, 5.6 percent of the GDP is supported by inputs to the air transport sector.