By Zain Anbar
JEDDAH — Some 20 Saudi women have joined the hospitality sector in four airports in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Madinah to work as lounge supervisors and receptionists.
Director of hospitality department of Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) Talal Al-Tuaimi said the women will work in shifts especially designed for them so that they do not work beyond 9 p.m.
He said eight of them are working in Jeddah, five in Riyadh, five in Dammam and two in Madinah.
Tuaimi said their selection was based not only on their educational qualifications but also on other skills, etiquette and proficiency in English language.
He said the women were rigorously trained.
Ibrar Hashim, a receptionist at Al-Fursan lounge for domestic flights at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, said she was not facing any problems in dealing with passengers who willingly convey to her their remarks and observations.
“Passenger satisfaction is our main objective,” she said, adding that the training courses greatly helped her in discharging her duties.
Fatima Al-Arabi, a supervisor, said she joined about six months ago after receiving intensive training in customer service.
Meanwhile, another national airline company has employed Saudi women at King Khaled International Airport (KKIA) in Riyadh to issue boarding passes and check-in passengers.
Nawal Al-Ahmari, who is working for the company, said she joined about four months ago and was supported by her husband and family.
She is a holder of a master’s degree in IT from Australia and was a lecturer at King Saud University and Imam Mohammed Bin Saud Islamic University.
“I preferred the airport job because it is more challenging. I was among the first five women to be appointed,” she said.
Ghada Al-Qadi, who studied in the US, said she came to know about the hospitality openings from a friend and immediately sent her CV.
Qadi said they received training on customer service.
“The work environment is extremely healthy and the job is challenging,” she said.
CEO of the Saudi Gulf Air Company Samir Al-Majali said that about 15 percent of the company’s jobs will be occupied by women.
“We have tried employing women in Jeddah and Dammam, but will soon generalize the experiment to cover all the airports,” he said.