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Nexus obtained GACA approval for Saudi women to join flight dispatch profession

Another feat for Saudi women professionals Aisha Ja’fari obtains flight dispatcher license from GACA

JEDDAH — Aisha Ja’fari successfully obtained an aircraft dispatcher license, becoming the first Saudi woman to pass the professional tests of the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA).

Ja’fari is the first of nine Saudi female aircraft dispatchers to pass the test. The remaining eight women are still undergoing final examinations, according to media reports.

Commenting on Ja’fari’s achievement, Saleh Bogary, vice president for charter flight operations at Nexus Flight Operations Services, said GACA approved aviation courses for women about a year ago following a proposal submitted by his academy, which received a large number of inquiries from young Saudi women interested in the profession.

Khaled Al-Khaibari, GACA spokesman, said: “Aisha Ja’fari completed the GACA tests and exams thus becoming the first female Saudi to obtain the aircraft dispatcher license recognized by GACA in order to practice this profession.

“Aisha and her female colleagues will work in a separate environment prepared to provide airline pilots with the necessary information before takeoff. This is a special moment as it marks Saudi women’s entry into sensitive and highly technical aviation specializations.”

Describing Ja’fari’s achievement as “no small feat”, Bogary said hitherto the flight dispatcher jobs were mainly handled by men.

Often referred to as assistant pilots on the ground, aircraft dispatchers prepare flight plans after studying all relevant technical information.

They must carefully plan flight paths for a number of flights, taking into account wind speed, storms, aircraft performance and loading, and other conditions. Some dispatchers even advise pilots if conditions or paths change. They usually work in the operations or control center of airline companies.

Bogary said Nexus, which is affiliated to Flight Safety International, is preparing to start a new course for flight dispatchers after Ramadan. He said special arrangements will be made for Saudi women to join the course, which is set to start on Aug. 22.

In addition to Saudis, Nexus has been training aviation professionals from several countries, including Nigeria, Egypt and Jordan.

Ja’fari said her love to work in the aviation field led her to enroll and obtain a diploma in aircraft dispatching.

“We were trained intensively for three months. The speedy response of the female trainees was beyond expectations. The field relies on precise information and terminology that require concentration. Despite all the difficulties, the technical training we received pushed us to achieve the required standards,” she said while calling for more jobs for women to be opened in the aviation sector.

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