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Saudi airline Flynas to recruit female co-pilots

Move is latest indication of Mohammad Bin Salman's drive to increase women's workforce participation

Riyadh: Riyadh-based carrier Flynas has announced plans to recruit Saudi women to work as co-pilots and flight attendants for the first time, just months after the kingdom lifted a decades-long ban on female motorists.

Saudi Arabia in June ended a longstanding ban on women driving cars as Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman seeks to improve women’s participation in the workforce.

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.

Nearly 1,000 Saudi women have applied for co-pilot positions with Flynas in the past 24 hours, a spokesman for the airline said on Thursday, as the Islamic kingdom relaxes gender restrictions amid the far-reaching liberalisation drive.

“Flynas is keen to empower Saudi women to play an important role in the kingdom’s transformation,” the low-cost carrier said Wednesday in its call for applications.

“Women... are an essential part of the airline’s success.”

The recruitment drive comes just days after Flyadeal, another low-cost Saudi carrier, began posting jobs for Saudi women to work as flight attendants.

Despite being allowed to drive cars, women still require permission from their fathers, husbands or other male relatives to travel and to get married under the kingdom’s strict guardianship system.

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