Air India Makes History With All-Women Pilot Team

Malavika Menon
·4-min read

In a momentous occasion for the Indian aviation industry, an all-women pilot team from Air India is set to break all records by embarking on a journey that has been termed as the ‘world’s longest air route.’

Covering a distance of over 16,000 kilometres, the flight will be taking the North Pole route and flying from Bangalore to San Francisco in what is likely to be a 17-hour non-stop flight. This achievement is indeed no small feat for our Indian women pilots!

Who Are The Women Behind This Team?

For an expedition as challenging and demanding as this, it is not surprising that only the most experienced and skilled pilots were brought on board to be a part of the team.

The group is led by Capt. Zoya Agarwal, who has already created a name for herself in the Indian aviation industry by being the youngest woman pilot to fly a Boeing-777 in 2013. She has also completed more than 8,000 flying hours in her career as a pilot so far.

Apart from her, the team comprises other accomplished women, including Capt. Papagari Thanmai, Capt. Akanksha Sonaware and Capt. Shivani Manhas. Additionally, Air India’s Executive of Flight Safety, Capt. Nivedita Bhasin will also be on board the flight.

Cockpit Crew Discussing the Flight Plan
Cockpit Crew Discussing the Flight Plan

Read More: Late Air India Pilot, Captain Deepak Sathe’s Traits Which Made Him A Real Hero

A Big Push For Women In Aviation

On its own, the achievement is an immense drive for Indian aviation as it will be one of the longest commercial flights by any Indian airline. But more importantly, Air India is also paving the way for greater gender equality in a largely male-dominated field.

World over, there continues to be a lack of representation of women in the more technical side of the aviation industry. Only around 5% of pilots worldwide are women — a dismal number compared to their male counterparts.

The stereotyping stems from the belief that women are more suited for reception work or becoming air hostesses. At the same time, men are considered more suitable for flying and taking on managerial positions.

A significant reason for the lack of women entering this field is their unawareness of career prospects. There are not enough role models or mentors and, as a result, women do not apply for most positions. Aviation is certainly a field that has a long way to go in terms of achieving gender equality.

Remarkably, India has actually been a trailblazer in the industry and even has the highest number of female pilots in the world!

Indian airlines have consistently been introducing numerous policies to increase the number of women in the cockpit.

India currently has the highest number of female pilots in the world.
India currently has the highest number of female pilots in the world.

However, the percentage of these women pilots only make up 12.5% of the total number of Indian pilots. But this is not to discount the progress they have been making in the field.

Air India’s initiative to entrust an all-women team to take on this honourable venture is a definite step in the right direction for women pilots everywhere.

India should continue to work towards changing perceptions, creating records and paving the way for all aspiring women pilots!

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: NDTV, Hindustan Times, India Today

Find the Blogger: @MalavikaMenon28

This post is tagged under: Air India, women pilots, aviation industry, airline, San Francisco, Bangalore, North Pole, all-women pilot team, who are the pilots flying to the North Pole, Capt. Zoya Agarwal, Capt. Papagari Thanmai, Capt. Akanksha Sonaware, Capt. Shivani Manhas, Indian pilots, new Air India venture, gender equality in aviation, women empowerment in India, male-dominated, women representation, what is the worlds longest air route, commercial flights, longest flights, what history is air india about to make, air india’s historical moment, which country has the highest number of female pilots, female pilots, cockpits, all-women cockpit, flying hours, air india female pilot

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