Last week marked both International Women’s Day and Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, and several airlines such as Air Canada and Lufthansa took the occasion to spotlight their flights that were “manned” exclusively by women in the cockpit. The aviation industry has come a long way in this regard, but we wait for the day when this is commonplace and no longer newsworthy.
However, one particularly newsworthy case of an all-female crew occurred a few weeks before on February 24. A trio of women pilots were at the controls of Royal Brunei flight BI081 from Brunei to Saudi Arabia, a country where women are not even permitted to drive a car.
Captain Sharifah Czarena and senior first officers Dk Nadiah Pg Khashiem Sariana Nordin flew from Brunei to Jeddah on what was the 32nd National Day of Brunei. They posted an Instagram to celebrate the occasion.
RB's first ever female trio at the flight deck; Captain Sharifah Czarena, Senior First Officer Sariana and Senior First Officer Dk Nadiah in the flight deck prior to operating flight BI081 from Brunei to Jeddah wishes Brunei Darussalam a "Happy 32nd National Day" ??❤️ We are the Nation's "Generation with a Vision"; we are the tomorrow. #RBbetterfly #HK32 #RBPOV
Technically, there is no official law that prevents women from driving in Saudi Arabia, but religious beliefs prohibit them from getting behind the wheel. Saudi clerics believe that female drivers “undermine social values”.
So having three capable women pilots land a Boeing 787 there – not to mention “drive” it to the gate – is a big deal.
However, before we applaud this milestone too vigorously, note that Brunei has it’s own share of human rights issues.
Still, we hope this viral story encourages more women around the world to consider careers that are traditionally dominated by men.