Saudi Arabia’s first female pilot soars high

In November 2004, Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal made history by hired the first-ever woman pilot in the history of Saudi Arabia.

Captain Hanadi Zakariya Al-Hindi flies the private fleet of the billionaire investor. Hanadi Zakaria al-Hindi is the first Saudi woman to become a commercial airline pilot. She was born in Mecca in September 1978.

Commenting on the recruitment of Hindi as a pilot by his company, Prince Alwaleed said: “I see the hiring of this female pilot to work on Kingdom Holding’s fleet of private jets as a historic move for Saudi ladies. The move transcends the traditional role of Saudi women previously confined to working in the health, education and philanthropic sectors. I am in full support of Saudi ladies working in all fields.”

Alwaleed added: “The hiring of a female Saudi pilot is the first of its kind.”

In a 2004 telephone interview from Makkah after the formal announcement of Prince Alwaleed to hire her, Capt. Hanadi told Arab News: “Women are very capable of taking on any job previously monopolised by men.”

Her statement is substantiated by the fact that she went on to take a Commercial Pilot’s License and an Instrument Rating (CPL and IR) from the same school — the Mideast Aviation Academy in Jordan. She said: “I will receive the commercial license within a few months from now.”

She passed her final exams at the Middle East Academy for Commercial Aviation in Amman, Jordan on June 15, 2005.

She has a ten-year contract with Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Company as a private pilot of his private jet, the Kingdom.

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