MUMBAI: India not only has the highest percentage of women airline pilots in the world, but the percentage of women pilots in India is more than double the global average, according to latest data released by International Society of Women Airline Pilots (ISA+21).
According to the latest statistics, the percentage of women airline pilots in the world stands around 5.4%. In India, the percentage of women pilots currently is 12.4 %. India employs a total of 8,797 pilots of which 1,092 are women and 385 of these are female captains, according to ISA+21. Globally, the total number of airline pilots is over 1.5 lakh of which only 8,061 are women and 2,190 are women captains.
TOI was the first to report that the percentage of female pilots in India was way above the global average. In a report carried on September 11 2006,
TOI had quoted ISA+21 data which said that the global percentage of women pilots was 5.9%. Back then, the percentage of women airline pilots in India was 11%, which still was double the global average.
According to latest data, Delhi-based regional carrier Zoom employs the highest percentage of women pilots in the world, at 30%. Of the 30 pilots it employs, nine are women.
But the big numbers are with IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways and Air India. IndiGo has the second highest percentage of women pilots at nearly 13.9%. Of the 2,689 pilots that IndiGo employs, 351 are women. Of the 1,867 pilots in Jet Airways, 231 are women (12.4%). SpiceJet has 853 pilots of which 113 are women (13.2%), while Air India, country’s pioneer in employing women pilots, has 1,710 pilots of which 217 are women pilots (12.7%).
In fact, IndiGo and Jet Airways are the only two carriers in the world, other than US-based carriers like United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and Southwest, where the number of female captains is currently in three digits. At 299 female captains, United Airlines employs the largest number of women commanders in the world, followed by American Airlines at 152 and Southwest at 121. IndiGo has 118 women commanders and Jet Airways 100.
However, the percentage of women pilots in US-based carriers is just above global average. Only 7.5% of pilots employed by United Airlines are female, while for Delta the percentage is 4.7.
An IndiGo spokesperson said, “In the past five years, the number of women pilots has increased from 80 to over 330. We have women pilots flying as trainers and some are in managerial positions as well. Two of our women pilots have been nominated as flight operations inspectors with DGCA.’’
The official added: “IndiGo is the only airline to have crèches, which enable both women and men to strike a balance between their early parenthood responsibilities and professional obligations. In addition to the mandatory maternity leave policy, IndiGo offers flexibility to women pilots to continue working (excluding flying duties) during their maternity, which benefits them in two ways: first, IndiGo gives an office duty allowance which is separate from the standard salary, and second, this enables women pilots to constructively stay engaged with the profession in spite of having to take a break from their flying duties.’’