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 San Francisco-Delhi direct. With 280 women pilots, representing 12.8% of its entire pilot workforce, the Maharaja did not have any difficulty in rostering them for flights to and from the US in one day.
The AI Group mirrors the growing number of women pilots in India which today stands at 12.4% 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%) in domestic schedule airlines were women. All ‘old’ airlines here have seen almost doubling of women pilots 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 the total workforce is about 5%. Estimates from the International Society of Women Airline Pilots published show there are 7,409 women pilots across the world accounting for 5.2% of total pilot workforce, said an airline official. According to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots, India has seen the maximum growth in number of women commercial pilots in recent times.
26/09/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India