Riyadh Air Welcomes | First Batch Of Saudi female Trainee Aircraft Engineers

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RIYADH: Riyadh Air, Saudi Arabia’s new national airline, has welcomed the first batch of pioneering Saudi female aircraft engineers into its 30-month diploma course, the company announced on Wednesday.

The 27 women will train to become certified aircraft engineering technicians after studying under the supervision and guidance of Aviation Australia and the International Aviation Technical College at Riyadh Airport.

Female aircraft maintenance engineers and technicians currently account for only 3 percent of the worldwide workforce, according to International Civil Aviation Organization.

With a shortfall of qualified maintenance workers expected in the coming years, Riyadh Air said it was harnessing an expanded talent pool of Saudi females keen on taking up non-traditional roles in the industry.

This comes after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Riyadh Air and the Colleges of Excellence in August 2023 and is the first collaboration of many between the organizations, according to a statement from Riyadh Air.

The Colleges of Excellence is a leading company in Saudi Arabia that provides technical and vocational training services.

The engineers – who all graduated from high schools in Saudi Arabia with impressive GPAs – were chosen from thousands of applicants, the airline said.

The airline is strongly committed to diversity and inclusion, which is why Riyadh Air has specifically chosen females for its entire first intake of trainee engineers to be placed on the apprenticeship program, the airline added in its statement.

Senior leaders from Riyadh Air, including Riyadh Air CEO Tony Douglas, Australian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mark Donovan, and CEO of Colleges of Excellence Ajman Abdullah, met the trainee engineers during a recent visit to the facility at Riyadh Airport.

“Diversity and inclusion are important pillars of our business, and introducing young women to the technical side of our airline demonstrates that we are serious about creating an airline that meets the expectations of Vision 2030,” the Riyadh Air CEO said in a statement.

 “We are fortunate that our engineers are students at the International Aviation Technical College under the Colleges of Excellence banner and accredited by Aviation Australia, one of the most prestigious global aviation schools, and we fully expect these ladies to be part of the future leadership of Riyadh Air,” he added.

For his part, the Australian ambassador said: “This is a great step and it is fantastic to know that Australia’s world-leading education sector, OSS, is once again enabling women’s economic participation as Saudi Arabia moves forward with Vision 2030.”

Meanwhile, the CEO of the Colleges of Excellence, said: “We are proud to support this pioneering batch of female trainees in the field of aircraft maintenance engineering, in partnership with Riyadh Air, and we believe in their capabilities to achieve excellence in this dynamic field.”

Abdullah added: “Colleges of Excellence work to provide a stimulating educational and training environment for the trainees and provide them with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in their professional developments. We are keen to support women’s competencies in various fields and provide them with proper job opportunities.”

Saudi Arabia’s new airline plans to get commercially operational by the end of the first half of 2025, according to it is Chief Operating Officer, Peter Bellew.

The Kingdom established Riyadh Air as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to diversify the country’s economy, which is largely dependent on its huge oil industry.

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