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Riyadh Air’s first intake of Saudi female trainee aircraft engineers

Riyadh Air’s first intake of Saudi female trainee aircraft engineers

Riyadh Air, the new national airline of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has taken another significant step on its road to its first flight in 2025 with the first intake of 27 pioneering females who commenced their 30-month diploma course on their path to become certified aircraft engineering technicians. In a groundbreaking move and a first for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, female engineers will study under the supervision and guidance of Aviation Australia and the International Aviation Technical College at Riyadh Airport, this follows an MOU signed between Riyadh Air and the Colleges of Excellence in August 2023 and is the first collaboration of many between the organizations.

These budding engineers are all Saudi high-school graduates with impressive GPAs and were chosen from thousands of applicants who wished to be part of the Riyadh Air story as it moves towards future operations. The airline is strongly committed to diversity and inclusion and in a positive sign of the ongoing role of women in the airline, Riyadh Air has specifically chosen females for its entire first intake of trainee engineers to be placed on the apprenticeship program.

Senior leaders from Riyadh Air including Tony Douglas, CEO, H.E. Mark Donovan, Australian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Engineer Ajman Abdullah, CEO of Colleges of Excellence met with the trainee engineers during a visit to the facility at Riyadh Airport. Female aircraft maintenance engineers and technicians currently account for only 3.0% (*ICAO Statistics) of the worldwide workforce. With a shortfall of qualified maintenance workers expected in the coming years, Riyadh Air is harnessing an expanding talent pool of Saudi females who are keen to enter non-traditional roles in the industry.

Tony Douglas, CEO of Riyadh Air said,
Riyadh Air is an airline that will challenge perceptions while representing the modern, dynamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Diversity and inclusion is an important pillar 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. 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.

H.E. Mark Donovan, Australia Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia commented:
It was great to join Colleges of Excellence and the CEO of Riyadh Air at the International Aviation Technical College to meet the first women who have joined the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Program. This is a great step and it is fantastic to know that Australia’s world leading education sector OSS once again enabling women’s economic participation as Saudi Arabia moves forward with Vision 2030.

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Engineer Ayman Abdullah, CEO of 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. 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 the women national competencies in various fields and provide them with proper job opportunities.