Flying into the history books: All-female Dreamliner pilot crew touches down in Saudi Arabia… where women aren’t even allowed to drive a car

A trio of pilots has made history by becoming Royal Brunei Airlines' first all-female flight crew - and they're gaining attention thanks to the destination they flew to on their inaugural flight together.

While it was a landmark moment for the carrier, the flight was also significant because the pilots landed at an airport in Saudi Arabia - a country where women are banned from driving a car.

Captain Sharifah Czarena and senior first officers Sariana Nordin and Dk Nadiah Pg Khashiem were behind the controls of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner on flight BI081 from Brunei to Jeddah.

Royal Brunei assigned three female pilots to the 24 February flight as it celebrated Brunei National Day, which marks the state's full independence from the UK in 1984.

Czarena trained at the Cabair Flying School at Cranfield, Bedfordshire, and operates a number of the state-owned carrier's major routes.

In December 2013, she became the first-ever Royal Brunei pilot to fly out of London Heathrow in its flagship Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

All-female crews have become a trend in recent months.

Last week a number of airlines, including Air Canada and Air India, operated long-haul flights staffed by female pilots to coincide with Women of Aviation Worldwide Week.

Royal Brunei, the national flag carrier of Brunei, a sovereign state on the north coast of Borneo, said it has taken steps to encourage more women to pursue careers that are traditionally dominated by men.

It said it has introduced an aircraft engineer apprentice programme for both men and women.

Given the destination was Saudi Arabia, where women's rights are severely limited, the story about Royal Brunei's all-female crew has gone viral on the internet.

The tiny state of Brunei, a former British protectorate, has faced criticism for its own record on women's rights.

In 2013, its sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, announced a new penal code based on sharia law, which was condemned by human rights organisations because it reintroduced the death penalty.

The first phase, implemented in 2014, included imprisonment as punishment for lesbianism, cross-dressing, abortion, theft and alcohol consumption.

The second adopted whipping and amputation for crimes, while the third phase allows for stoning to death in cases of rape, adultery, pre-marital sex and sodomy.

So far, only the first phase has been implemented.

OutRight Action International said the so-called 'morality laws' would control women's sexuality and disproportionately impact mostly women and LGBT people.

Source: Daily Mail

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