Hanadi Zakaria Al-Hindi will undergo a nephrectomy procedure at King Faisal Hospital in Jeddah on July 20.
“The nephrectomy will finally decide my fate, either to allow me to work as a pilot in the cockpit or as a flying instructor on the ground,” Al-Hindi told Arab News, thanking well wishers for their support.
She could not say whether the operation would lead to the whole kidney being removed or only part of it. The procedure, which takes up to four hours, usually has a good chance of success.
Al-Hindi, who has already been offered a job as a flying instructor in case her dreams to become a pilot are shattered, hopes that she will be able to fly eventually.
The 32-year-old became the Kingdom’s first accredited woman pilot after being hired by Kingdom Holding Company chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
She started her aviation schooling at Jordan’s Middle East Academy of Aviation in 2002, becoming something of a celebrity after gaining her commercial pilot’s license in 2006.
Al-Hindi, who belongs to a middle-class family, claimed that a royal order had been issued to provide treatment to her cost free.
She, however, called on all her relatives, friends and well wishers to pray for her health.
She said that she would be ready to fly once doctors gave a fitness certificate after surgery or treatment.
Al-Hindi also has plans to travel to the UK shortly after treatment to complete an advanced European CPL/Instrument Rating aviation-training course.
“This rating allows a career pilot to fly aircraft in the worst weather conditions and the busiest airspace in the world. Therefore it is one of the most difficult ratings,” she said.
Al-Hindi said that she was proud of herself and her family for supporting her. She also expressed her gratitude to Prince Alwaleed, who had paid for her studies in Jordan. Al-Hindi said that she was greatly concerned about her health since she was diagnosed early last year with a urinary block that had caused her kidneys to enlarge.
Asked whether she would be able to fly aircraft next year, Al-Hindi said that pilots and crewmembers are allowed to fly as long as they are declared fit by doctors.
“The surgery will ensure my medical fitness, God willing”, she added. “My father always dreamt of having one of his children become a pilot, so I decided to get a private jet license.”
Born and raised in Makkah, Al-Hindi faced opposition from her relatives after she decided to become a pilot.
“I lived a normal life in Makkah and studied at Umm Al-Qura University until 1998 when I discussed with my father the possibility of becoming a pilot. That was the real turning point in my life,” she said.
According to Al-Hindi, she gave up everything for the sake of making her father’s dream come true. In 2001 she left university where she was studying English literature to go to Jordan. Al-Hindi described her first solo flight in 2004 as the beginning of her dream career.
“Two days after my solo flight, I discovered that my name was being mentioned all over the world and that I had become a celebrity,” she said.
Al-Hindi also made history after she was included in the “The 100 Greatest Women in Aviation” book.

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