All-female Brunei flight crew lands in Saudi Arabia

Royal Brunei Boeing 767-300ER (V8-RBK) (wikipedia)

Royal Brunei Boeing 767-300ER (V8-RBK) (wikipedia)

Three Royal Brunei Airlines pilots have made history by being the company’s first all-female flight crew, making their first journey to Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive.

Flight Captain Sharifah Czarena, assisted by Senior First Officers Sariana Nordin and Dk Nadiah Pg Khashiem flew the Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Brunei to Jeddah, on Brunei’s National Day to celebrate independence.

Captain Czarena trained in the UK and in December 2013 became the first Royal Brunei pilot to fly out of London Heathrow in its flagship Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

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.”

They landed in Saudi Arabia, which is the only country in the world where women aren’t allowed to drive. Women who drive in public risk being fined and arrested by the police. Saudi women have launched a series of campaigns, especially on social media, to demand an easing of the restrictions. The “Women2Drive” campaign has nearly 18,000 “likes” on Facebook and asks women to post images of them driving.

Last year women in Saudi Arabia cast their votes for the first time in municipal elections. A total of 978 women also registered as candidates.

They were alongside 5,938 men and had to speak behind a partition while campaigning, or be represented by a man.
The decision to allow women to take part was taken by the late King Abdullah and is seen as a key part of his legacy.

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