Earlier this week, Saudi pilot Yasmeen Al Maimani became the first woman to head a domestic flight in the kingdom. Nesma Airlines, the company that allowed Al Maimani to mark a great day for Saudi women, is a Saudi airline that operates flights to tourist destinations in Egypt as well as local trips in the kingdom. 

This comes months after Saudi officials granted five female pilots licenses to fly airplanes in the country's airspace. 

Al Mainmani expressed her happiness over the history-making milestone on Instagram. Captioning a photo of her as a first officer, she wrote: "Elhamdullah achieved my dream today released as First Officer."

The aviator also posted a video of her flying over the kingdom, documenting the moment her dream of piloting a plane in her own country came true.

Before being granted a Saudi license, along with four other female pilots, Al Maimani said she couldn't find a job in her country despite the fact that she had replaced an international permit she held with a local one in 2013.

At the time, she explained she was facing difficulty finding work locally because she's a woman. In a statement she gave to Al Arabiya in 2018, she said: 

"I have a government license, and I have all the requirements needed for the job, however, we did not get the opportunity to work. I knocked many doors for a job, but the refusal is still going on under the pretext that women's jobs as female captain do not exist, even though there are training institutes on aviation and there are institutes in Jeddah and Dammam." 

Now, the pilot has made history and will hopefully open up the space for more Saudi women to enter the field in the kingdom. 

People are thrilled with the news

"Saudi aviation is making leaps." 

"She's a fighter"

"Proud and honored by Yasmeen Al Maimani"


A great era for Saudi women in aviation

Earlier this year, the kingdom's budget airline flynas announced it has hired Saudi women to work as flight attendants for the first time ever. 

According to Arabian Business, Saudi "women are not legally barred from working in the aviation sector, but jobs as flight attendants with Saudi carriers have largely been held by female foreign workers from countries such as the Philippines."

In 2018, the company announced they were opening co-pilot and cabin crew positions for women. In the first 24 hours after posting the job opportunities, they received nearly 1,000 applications from Saudi women.

In March of this year, it was also announced that the first batch of Saudi female air traffic controllers trained in the country started work at an ATC center in Jeddah.

This came two years after Saudi's Air Navigation Services Company (SANS) revealed its plans to employ female members of society as air traffic controllers.