May 19, 2022

Number of women pilots in India doubles to 1,000 in 4 years

Sep 26, 2018, 13:06 IST 

Sources :

NEW DELHI: “Watch out Mr Trump, all our ladies are headed your way!” This message had gone viral on Air India pilots’ WhatsApp groups a few months back when the airline celebrated Women’s day by having all-female crew on its nonstops to and from US.

Twenty women pilots were deployed for the four routes to US that day — Delhi to New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Mumbai-Newark — apart from a SFO-Delhi direct. With 280 women pilots representing 12.8 per cent of its entire pilot workforce, the Maharaja did not have any difficulty in rostering these many winged angels for operating flights to and from the US on one day.

The AI Group mirrors growing number of women pilots in India which today stands at 12.4 per cent with 1,092 of the total 8,797 pilots in schedule domestic airlines being ladies. India has, in fact, seen the number of women pilots almost double in last four years. In 2014, 586 of the 5,050 pilots (11.6 per cent) in domestic schedule airlines were women. A figure that now stands at 1,092 out of 8,797 (12.4 per cent) pilots. All ‘old’ airlines here have seen almost doubling of women pilots (see graphic) in this period.

In percentage terms, India has among the highest ratio of female pilots working for schedule airlines globally. In big aviation markets like US and Australia, the percentage of women pilots to total workforce is about 5 per cent. Estimates from the International Society of Women Airline Pilots published show there are 7,409 women pilots across the world accounting for 5.2 per cent of total pilot workforce, said an airline official. “IndiGo has the highest percentage of women pilots (at) 13 per cent… both in India and global(ly). There are over 330 women pilots currently employed with IndiGo as first-officers, captains and trainers.

In the last five years the number of women pilots has increased from 80 to over 330, as a proportion of the total from approximately 10 per cent to 13 per cent. We have women pilots flying as trainers and some are in managerial positions as well,” IndiGo spokesperson Sakshi Batra said. AirAsia India said it has seen some of its women employees working in marketing or as airhostesses get trained to become pilots. A trend endorsed by other airlines like IndiGo and Air India as well.

SpiceJet, where pilot recruitment is headed by a lady pilot, says it aims to have women as one-third of all its pilot strength. The low cost carrier (LCC) had conducted an exclusive recruitment drive to hire women pilots this Women’s Day. Over 320 candidates appeared for interview that day and 55 were given offer letters. “SpiceJet is proud of its women leaders and appreciates their tremendous contribution to the airline’s revival.

SpiceJet’s young lady Captains are one of the very few in the world flying to critical airfields like Kabul and Leh on a regular basis. SpiceJet intends to give wings to the dreams of bold and talented young women and we will hire an ever increasing number of lady pilots in the coming years,” said SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh, the only man quoted in this article!

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