Article first published in March 2020
Hi! My name is Yasmeen Al Maimani, I’m from Saudi Arabia, and last year I became my country’s first female commercial airline pilot.
My journey started in January 2012 when I joined L3Harris Airline Academy in Sanford, which was then known as Aerosim Flight Academy. I found the Academy to be one of the best flight schools in the United States. I truly enjoyed the friendly environment, and all my instructors were very supportive, providing me with the best training.
Following a comeback to my hometown of Jeddah the next year, after passing the exams and check rides from my license conversion, the airline assessments had very high standards and I was constantly asked about my training background. As there weren’t any female commercial pilots in Saudi Arabia it was hard for me to find a job, so I decided to work within the aviation industry in charter, flight operations, flight safety and technical operations in order to keep in touch.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has made strides towards granting women equal rights through the Vision 2030 program, as well as lifting a ban on driving. This allowed me to finally achieve my first job offer in February 2019 as a Nesma Airlines First Officer flying the ATR 72-600.
My first revenue flight happened in June 2019 and it was like a dream come true. I literally had tears in my eyes during take-off! After finishing my flight, I had everyone at Ha'il Regional Airport welcoming me with flowers, cake and blessings, with the General Authority of Civil Aviation announcing me as the first female commercial airline pilot of Saudi Arabia.
I really appreciate my airline and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for giving me this chance and also for including women’s rights in Vision 2030. My message to everyone is follow your dreams until you achieve them. Keep working hard and believe in yourself.