All-female flight crew not allowed to pursue route

 The all-female flight deck crew Royal Brunei Airlines
The all-female flight deck crew Royal Brunei Airlines

The first ever all-female flight deck crew for Royal Brunei Airlines has operated a plane from Brunei to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

But while it was a milestone for the airline, the pilot crew touched down in country where women are still not allowed to drive a car.

To mark Brunei’s National Day, which celebrates the country’s independence, Captain Sharifah Czarena Surainy, Senior First Officer Dk Nadiah Pg Khashiem and Senior First Officer Sariana Nordin flew flight BI081 to the Middle Eastern country on 23 February.

The occasion came just over three years after Captain Sharifa Czarena Surainy became the first female captain of a flag carrier in Southeast Asia. She told The Brunei Times in 2012: “Being a pilot, people normally see it as being a male dominant occupation.”

“As a woman, a Bruneian woman, it is such a great achievement. It’s really showing the younger generation or the girls especially that whatever they dream of, they can achieve it,” said the captain, who completed her initial pilot training at the Cabair Flying School in Cranfield.

And Royal Brunei Airlines is committed to getting more women into the industry as it currently offers an Engineering Apprentice programme to both males and females.

But the airline’s landmark voyage also highlighted the restrictions women still face in Saudi Arabia. In recent years, they have used social media to protest against being forbidden from driving.

The Women2Drive campaign has nearly 18,000 “likes” on Facebook and asks women to post images of them driving.

But authorities are still quick to crack down on female drivers, such as in 2014 when two women were detained.

Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East and North Africa director for Human Rights Watch said at the time: “After years of false promises to end its absurd restrictions on women, Saudi authorities are still arresting them for getting behind the wheel. The Saudi government’s degrading restrictions on women are what bring shame to the country, not the brave activists standing up for their rights.”

The views expressed in Op-Ed pieces are those of the author and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Libyan Express.
How to submit an Op-Ed: Libyan Express accepts opinion articles on a wide range of topics. Submissions may be sent to oped@libyanexpress.com. Please include ‘Op-Ed’ in the subject line.
Azara Media Azara Media
You might also like

Submit a Correction

For: All-female flight crew not allowed to pursue route

Your suggestion have been successfully submitted

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Libyan Express will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.