“People used to travel abroad (to study aviation), which was difficult for women more than men,” said applicant Dalal Yashar, who aspires to work as a civil pilot. “We are no longer living in the era were women were allowed in limited arenas. All avenues are now opened for women. If you have the appetite, you have the ability,” she said.
The academy is part of a $300 million project that includes a school for aircraft maintenance and an international centre for flight simulators at the airport.
Students receive three years of academic and practical training, said executive director Othman al-Moutairy.A decades-long ban on women driving was lifted last month, as part of sweeping reforms pushed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aimed at transforming the economy and opening up its society.
The lifting of the prohibition was welcomed by Western allies as proof of a new progressive trend in Saudi Arabia.