In­dia’s High-Fly­ing Women

India Today - - UPFRONT -

Air In­dia, along­side other In­dian air­lines, leads the world in its com­mit­ment to the hir­ing of fe­male pi­lots. In its most re­cent re­port, the In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety of Women Air­line Pi­lots con­firms that In­dian air­lines, in this re­spect, set a pro­gres­sive ex­am­ple. The global av­er­age for women pi­lots re­mains em­bar­rass­ingly low, with a lit­tle over one in ev­ery 20 flights likely to be pi­loted by a woman. In In­dia, the like­li­hood dou­bles and with the de­mand for do­mes­tic flights grow­ing ex­po­nen­tially, some In­dian air­lines have pledged to have women com­prise as many as a third of the pi­lots on staff. In­dian flight schools, too, are train­ing a higher pro­por­tion of young women to be­come pi­lots than flight schools in other coun­tries. With equal, union-man­dated pay and care­fully con­sid­ered poli­cies, In­dian air­lines will con­tinue to set stan­dards for the hir­ing and re­tain­ing of women pi­lots. And while women pi­lots are part of a van­ish­ingly small elite, the clam­our for more is a re­fresh­ing con­trast to the di­min­ish­ing of women in the In­dian work­force to the point that only Saudi Ara­bia among G20 na­tions has a worse record.


Women pi­lots in In­dia in 2018, out of 8,797 to­tal, or 12.41%. Up from 11.6% in 2014, a near dou­bling of ab­so­lute num­bers from 586 women pi­lots that year


In­dian women pi­lots are cap­tains or 4.38% of to­tal pi­lots, com­pared to 1.55% of the global to­tal


Of IndiGo pi­lots are women; ahead of Spice Jet (13.2%) and Air In­dia (12.7%). Out­side In­dia, the US-based United Air­lines (7.4%) leads, com­pared to 5.9% for British Air­ways, 3.71% Cathay Pa­cific and 1.5% Emi­rates


Women (4 pi­lots and 10 cabin crew) flew an Air In­dia plane non-stop last year over 12,300 km in 16 hours from Delhi to San Fran­cisco in the world’s long­est flight staffed only by women


Of pi­lots world­wide are women, or 8,477 out of 154,957, says the In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety of Women Air­line Pi­lots (ISWAP).


Women in China have com­mer­cial li­censes to fly, com­pared to 55,052 men. At 1.3%, China has one of the world’s low­est ra­tios of women pi­lots. The US, at 4.4%, is also be­low the global av­er­age


Of Zoom Air’s 30 pi­lots are women (30%), says ISWAP. The tiny In­dian air­line, which be­gan fly­ing in 2017, em­ploys the high­est pro­por­tion of women pi­lots in the world


Pi­lots will be re­quired in In­dia by 2027, says an avi­a­tion in­dus­try re­port; 20% of stu­dents in In­dia’s flight schools are women. The pace will have to be ac­cel­er­ated if de­mand is to be met

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