Saudi aviation academy to train first women pilots

PA-28 Warrior II of Oxford Aviation Academy at Tucson International Airport. (File photo: Wikipedija)
Updated 17 July 2018
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Saudi aviation academy to train first women pilots

DAMMAM: A flight school in Saudi Arabia is opening its doors for women, following the end of a decades-long driving ban in the deeply conservative Muslim country where many social restrictions are easing.
Oxford Aviation Academy, a leading trainer and crew recruiter, has already received applications from hundreds of women hoping to start lessons in September at a new branch in the eastern city of Dammam.
“People used to travel abroad (to study aviation), which was difficult for women more than men,” said applicant Dalia Yashar, who aspires to work as a civil pilot.
“We are no longer living in the era were women were allowed (to work) in limited arenas. All avenues are now opened for women. If you have the appetite, you have the ability,” she said.
The academy is part of a $300 million project that includes a school for aircraft maintenance and an international center for flight simulators at the airport.
Students receive three years of academic and practical training, said executive director Othman Al-Moutairy.
A decades-long ban on women driving was lifted last month, as part of sweeping reforms pushed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aimed at transforming the economy and opening up its cloistered society.
The lifting of the prohibition was welcomed by Western allies as proof of a new progressive trend in Saudi Arabia, but it has been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, including against some of the very activists who previously campaigned against the ban.


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman touches down in India

Updated 33 min 48 sec ago
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman touches down in India

NEW DELHI: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in India on Tuesday for the second stage of his Asia tour.

His plane touched down at Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi shortly after 8.45 p.m. local time.

The crown prince is expected to announce a $1 billion investment in India’s infrastructure and farming sectors during his first visit to the nation.

Prince Mohammed is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and various other ministers and officials.

He is accompanied by leading Saudi businessmen and officials.

India is hoping the crown prince will announce an investment in its National Investment Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), a sovereign wealth fund that includes private companies and foreign investors.

The Kingdom is India’s top energy supplier and home to more than 3.5 million Indian expatriates.