India’s High-Flying Women
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