Number of Indian women pilots, 3% higher than global average

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Women in India may have a long road ahead of them in various professional sectors but the Indian women in aviation industry are way ahead in the race. A recent report by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has revealed that 600 of the 5,050 pilots in Indian airlines are women. Hence, in India, 11.6% of the pilots are women- 3% higher than the global average.


The first Indian woman to get her flying license was Sarla Thakral 1936. 78 years later, we don’t just have a high rate of women pilots; this number is also growing annually as in the last five years, out of the 4, 267 licenses that were issued, 628 or 14.7% went to women. ‘Spice Jet’ out of all commercial airlines, has the highest number of women pilots in India (14.7%), followed closely by ‘Go Air’ (12.7%) and ‘Jet Group’ (11.6%): reported Times of India.


According the report, a woman pilot said, “Women who go on overseas flights have to spend days away from home. In India, women have their mothers or mothers-in-law to take care of the kids and that ensures they can go on long flights too.” Not unlike her, many are crediting the family support to be one of the biggest reasons for a rise in the number of women pilots in India.


[Picture Courtesy: Air India]


Harpreet AD Singh, the first woman pilot for Air India in 1988 told Times of India, “The erstwhile Indian Airlines was the first here to hire women pilots in the early 1980s. Captain Sadamani Deshmukh became the first woman commander then (of a Fokker Friendship) and this became a big thing that time. Then in 1988, I was chosen by erstwhile AI as the first woman pilot.” She added that this number rose in the mid-1980s and 2005 onwards, when private low-cost airlines took off.