New Delhi: With about 12.4 per cent of all pilots women, India has the highest percentage of female pilots globally, according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots. The US, the world's largest aviation market has 5.5 per cent of pilots and 4.7 per cent is in the UK.
Indian female pilots have achieved many firsts in global aviation industry including the San Francisco to Bengaluru direct flight on the carrier Air India that was operated by an all women cockpit crew of Capt Zoya Aggarwal, Capt Papagari Thanmai, Capt Akansha Sonaware and Capt Shivani Manhas.
“It’s no secret we have the support of parents and it’s a norm to hire staff,” said Zoya Agarwal, who came into limelight after flying nonstop flight from San Fransisco to Bengaluru with an all-women. “Women like me can fly to San Fransisco for five days and not think about what’s happening at home. You have that comfort.”
The flight which covered 13,993 km in 17 hours and flew over North Pole was the longest commercial flight in the world to be operated by Air India or any other airline in India. Air India also has the highest women employee ratio for an airline in the world.
The Indian Air Force began recruiting women pilots for helicopters and transport aircraft in the 1990s. It wasn’t until this year that they were allowed to take up fighter roles.