A Saudi Arabian airline carried out the first flight in the country with an all-female crew, as reported on Saturday by the authorities of the ultra-conservative kingdom, which seeks to improve its image.

The plane, operated by flyadeal, traveled last Thursday from the capital Riyadh to the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah, company spokesman Emad Iskandarani said.

The seven crew members were all Saudi womenexcept for the pilot, who was of a different nationality, Iskandarani said.

The Saudi civil aviation authority, which confirmed the announcement by flyadeal, a subsidiary of the national airline Saudia, welcomed the support for the inclusion of women in this field.

In 2019, the authority announced the first flight with a Saudi female co-pilot.

Since the rise of the young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler since 2017, Saudi Arabia has experienced a relative social openness. Among other measures, women have been authorized to drive in that country in 2018.

In early May, Saudi Arabia announced that it wanted to become a world hub for air transport and triple its annual traffic to reach 330 million passengers before the end of the decade.

The government plans to inject 100,000 million dollars in the sector by 2030, launch a new national airline and build a new "mega airport" in the capital.

Some analysts, however, question the ability of Saudi airlines to compete with other heavyweights in the region, such as Emirates or Qatar Airways.


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