I must say it was a very touching and inspiring women’s day celebration for me.
We had all gathered to cheer for womanhood in a historic way. It was the eve of International Women’s Day celebration with Air India, a name which is synonymous with the history of Indian aviation. To mark the occasion, Air India has been flying ten all-women crew flights on its international and domestic routes from 26th Feb to 8th Mar 2017. Not just this, a world record has also been made for flying around the world and we were here to root for the ladies who had made it possible. And most importantly the day was also chosen to felicitate many incredible females from various departments of Air India. These amazing women have left no stone unturned in conquering the sky with their passion and skills.
History has been made by AIR INDIA very recently. An all women operated flight flew around the world on Delhi-SFO-Delhi route. On 26th Feb 2017, they made the onward trip. Boeing 777-200LR aircraft traveled non-stop via the Pacific Ocean and returned via the Atlantic Ocean completing a round trip of the world with 16 crew members and 250 passengers onboard. For 15,300 kilometers on the onward journey, the traveling time was 15 hours and ten minutes. On return, the aircraft covered nearly 14,000 kilometers and took 15 and a half hours. On its way, the flight traversed through 13 time zones.
In 2017, Captain Kshamta Bajpai and Capt. Sunita Narula (top most picture) along with First Officers Capt. Indira Singh and Capt. Gunjan Aggarwal became the first women pilots to fly all women supported and operated flight around the world on Delhi – SanFrancisco- Delhi route.
I met the captains as well as the crew members too. It was such a joyous moment to interact with them and know their stories. Captain Kshamta Bajpai and Captain Sunita Narula sounded so confident and proud of their achievements. One could read their dedication and focus on their face. They said, there is no such thing which women cannot do. And there should be nothing which should stop you from achieving your dreams. People may doubt you initially but don’t let anything hold you. If you are good at your work, you will be recognized one day. I am sure all the girls who dream to fly one day are reading this.
I also had a chance to interact with Capt Trisha Mohan who is the only woman in Air India who commands the mighty Boeing -747 (The Jumbo) aircraft. In 20 years of her career, she has loved every day of her job. For the last four years, she has been flying the Jumbo. When I asked her about her family, kids and more, she said she was a good juggler and with the support of her family she was doing what she always wanted to do. She also added that when you want to do something, you must believe in yourself and keep doing. She is such a charming lady whose very word inspires you to go for your dreams.
I had many short and sweet conversations with lady officers, pilots and crew members who have been in the industry for long and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing their stories. They had such inspiring things to talk about their career, their choices, their dreams and their flight experiences. Moreover, they all sounded very upbeat and positive about their work and achievements. The young ladies looked very focused and dynamic. Some also quoted that Air India was extremely supportive in making them rise and shine.
This event was a great way to reinstate the fact that women can do everything and no field or corner of the world is untouched by their achievements. Everyone from Air India definitely deserves a pat for putting up this great show.
HERE ARE SOME PICTURES FROM THE DAY
Tomorrow, Air India will be taking around 50 women on ‘JOY RIDE‘ from Delhi to Agra on its ATR-72 aircraft which will be operated and supported by all women crew. These women have been associated with aviation for last 20-30 years but have never had the opportunity to fly in the air. It will be a dream come true for many. I will be flying with them. Do read about my experience in the next blog.