Pilot Wesam Al Najjar from Al Madinah, Saudi Arabia is the first and the youngest Saudi pilot to fly the biggest civil aircraft Airbus A380. His first flight on A380 was in the year 2017 and at that time he was awarded with the title “First & Youngest Saudi Pilot” to fly A380. To make his childhood dream come true of becoming a pilot in the future, he did hard work from the beginning to make his career. He studied at UAE in Alain (Horizon Academy), and never lost any opportunity to learn. Joined one of the best airlines in the world Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi. He traveled to over 100 cities from North to South and East to West. He also flew with different companies including Air Seychelles in the year 2014 covering more destinations and more different islands. From his journey of being a pilot, he is every day learning something new related to cities, culture, languages, etc. At so young age he achieved a lot and raised his country’s name high in the world.
Right now, he is writing a book on how to improve the aviation sector in the Arabic language.
Q.) How do you feel being the youngest Saudi national flying A380?
Pilot Wesam: Undoubtedly it is an honor for me to be among the first to have the benefit of raising the emblem of my country Saudi Arabia on Saudi National Day. To be the first Saudi pilot to fly an A380 to Jeddah airport and land in the history of the airport. For me, it was like a dream come true and I thank everyone for those who played an important role in this achievement. Thanks to Mr. Muhammad Al-Balooki, Captain Sulman alyaqoopi, Captain Majed almarzoogi, Captain Adel alzubadi, and the whole Etihad Airways family.
Specially thanks to His Highness, Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his big support to the young generation and his great interest in aviation/ global air transport in this area towards the 2030 vision. I would also like to thank His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and the people of the United Arab Emirates. The countries of the Arab world and we as a generation look to the future with optimism in the aviation industry.
Last but not least thanks to Saudi Arabia’s minister of air transport Saleh bin Nasser Al- Jasser for giving his full support and activating positive paths for us.
Q.) Describe your journey from A318 to A380.
Pilot Wesam: My journey of flying started with Etihad Airways who embraced me from the beginning and I had the credit to learn and get experience in different fleets. It was not easy but due to hard work and concentration on my goal, I achieved a successful career path. I had great support from the company and colleagues in UAE.
I flew on many Airbus models including A318, A319, A320, A321, A330-200, A330-300, A330 cargo, A380. I would like to thank Etihad Airways and those in charge of it for allowing me to gain and learn intense experiences.
Q.) Which is your most significant achievement till now?
Pilot Wesam: My biggest achievement till now was being part of the Saudi National Day as Etihad’s senior first officer to fly a special flight of A380 from UAE to Jeddah. This means a lot to me; I consider it a proud and unforgettable moment as it was an exceptional and distinguished event in the world of aviation.
Q.) What challenges have you faced in your career?
Pilot Wesam: Like any other sector, there are challenges, and most important of all, it is how to confront them in the right way. For me, at the time of Covid19 pandemic, the change from one airline to another was the biggest challenge. Adapting to different operating conditions and cultures was the major challenge, but this is life. We should face challenges and never give up to attain our goals.
Q.) What are the advantages of becoming a pilot at a young age?
Pilot Wesam: The benefit of flying at a young age allows one to explore different potential ideologies. Building knowledge from a young age opens a window of opportunity to develop. Quickly absorbing new information and being able to learn by experience provides the foundation to build a long career.
Q.) You have a flying experience on so many aircraft, which one is your favorite and why?
Pilot Wesam: Flying is a great opportunity; all planes are nice to fly. Being in this machine and part of this aviation sector is something I am proud of. It is the company that gives value to the machine and therefore if the machine is small or large, the person, in the end, determines its value.
I love to fly planes and it’s difficult to choose one because every plane is unique to learn and pass.
Q.) What advice would you give to people wanting to pursue a career as a pilot?
Pilot Wesam: I advise them to continue to persevere towards their aim and ambitions, no matter how difficult and long the road is in the end, achieving the dream and the goal is most essential. Since the aviation sector is now growing positively after Covid19 pandemic, the opportunities are sufficient and available to rise again.