Planes yes, cars no

Royal Brunei Airlines recently celebrated the flying of one of its planes with its first all female flight deck crew. The plane flew from Brunei to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. So Saudi Arabia will let women fly planes into the country but will not them drive once they are there.

Still, congratulations to Captain Sharifah Czarena Surainy Syed Hashim, Senior First Officer Dk Nadiah Pg Khashiem, and Senior First Officer Sariana Nordin for breaking a barrier.


The occasion came just over three years after Captain Czarena became the first female captain of a flag carrier in Southeast Asia. She told The Brunei Times in 2012: “Being a pilot, people normally see it as being a male dominant occupation.”

“As a woman, a Bruneian woman, it is such a great achievement. It’s really showing the younger generation or the girls especially that whatever they dream of, they can achieve it,” said the captain, who completed her initial pilot training at the Cabair Flying School in Cranfield.

And Royal Brunei Airlines is committed to getting more women into the industry as it currently offers an Engineering Apprentice programme to both males and females.

One wonders how long Saudi Arabia can continue to be so backward when other majority Muslim nations are loosening up.


  1. says

    Saudi citizens get free education -- they have one of the best-educated populations on earth (of the entire population of Saudi, there are relatively few citizens) so consequently there are a lot of women with PhDs who can’t do anything with them. So much waste!

    I talked to one CEO (the equivalent of Saudi Wal-Mart) who was trying to hire women for accounting and financial positions and was dealing with negotiating to have an entire isolated floor of their HQ for women -- to enforce segregation. The rules are ridiculous and everyone knows it -- apparently there was hope that the ruling family would loosen up and let women drive but it appears the new monarch is just another bit of useless meat with a title.

  2. says

    Oh, wait, so they’re Brunei airlines pilots, not Saudi pilots. That’s probably a non-issue, then. As long as they don’t pass through Saudi emigration, they are still outside of Saudi -- so they can taxi around to their heart’s content. But I bet they’ve got to be segregated, escorted, and not operating cars if they go through emigration.

    Brunei is a bit more muslim than Malaysia, which it’s close to. Saudi Arabia is in the persian gulf, not indochina. Compared to Saudi Arabia, Brunei is progressive -- which is to say, they’re stuck in the dark ages (as opposed to the bronze age)

  3. Mano Singham says

    Patrick Slattery,

    You are right. For some reason, when writing the post, I confused it with Bahrain. I have modified the post accordingly.

  4. lanir says

    I think all you need for senseless and wastful restrictions is some random insecurity and a shield you can hide behind while desperately pretending to do nothing of the sort.

    The Abrahamic religions seem to fall all over themselves providing in both categories. The people who wrote their books seem to be outright terrified of women. And about the only thing I can think of that provides the sort of bullshit shield that religion does is the US defense budget. Anyone successfully arguing against either the defense budget or religion is sure to have imbecils blaming every random little nonsense thing on them much less any actual tragedies that happen to occur.

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