Saudi co-pilots pose for a group photo at a recent ceremony of the national carrier. Image Credit: Supplied

Cairo: Saudi Arabia’s national carrier Saudia has celebrated the full replacement of foreign co-pilots with Saudis, as the kingdom is seeking to employ more of its citizens.

“It is a historic day in the life of an institution that is more than 75 years old,” the airline said.

The carrier, which flies to a worldwide network of destinations, offered thanks to its former co-pilots of different nationalities whom it said has contributed to its long development.

Foreign pilots

The airline said it is going ahead with a plan to fully “Saudise” its pilots, according to news portal Ajel. No figures were given on the numbers of the replaced co-pilots or foreign pilots being employed by the carrier.

Foreigners make up about 10.5 million of Saudi Arabia’s total population of 34.8 million.

Gulf countries have recently stepped up their efforts to employ their own citizens in jobs done by expatriates in an attempt to ease economic impact of COVID-19 on their nationals.