Sky's the limit: Aviation schools open to Saudi women after driving ban lifted
Oxford Aviation Academy has opened its doors to women and will start accepting applications from Saudi women who can begin their training in September.
Classes will take place in the eastern city of Dammam.
"We are no longer living in the era where women were allowed [to work] in limited arenas. All avenues are now opened for women," applicant Dalal Yashar, who hopes to work as a civil pilot, told Reuters.
"If you have the appetite, you have the ability."
In January, Eqbal Darandari, a member of the Saudi Shura Council–the kingdom's legislative body, called on national airlines to empower women by creating jobs.
"Airlines take one step forward and two steps back when it comes to pilot and flight attendant positions," Darandari said at the time.
"We've seen Saudi women piloting aircraft outside the kingdom. Now it's time for [Saudi Arabia’s aviation authority] to take the initiative. Saudi women deserve to find work in their own country."
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's announcement last year that women would be allowed to drive from 24 June .
The move was hailed from some sections of international media, although others believe it failed to tackle real social issues in the kingdom.
Largely seen as the force behind the lifting of the ban, the crown prince's economic Vision 2030 reform plan - for a post-oil era - seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the workforce, up from about 22 percent now.
Analysts have warned that the reforms are merely cosmetic changes, allowing the kingdom to attract positive international publicity, while at the same time launching a huge crackdown on activists - including women's rights campaigners.The kingdom's rigid guardianship system - which requires women to seek permission from a male relative to study - travel and other activities, also blocks the way for any real social change, warn Saudi activists.