September 8, 2018
Bengaluru: India has outdone the developed West when it comes to hiring of female airline pilots. Slammed regularly for its treatment of women, the percentage of female pilots in India, the world’s fastest-growing aviation market, is twice as high as compared to Western countries, including the United States and Australia.
Globally, less than 5 per cent of pilots are women, according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots, reported Reuters. And with demand for pilots surging – planemaker Boeing estimating a need for 790,000 new pilots globally over the next 20 years – the number is likely to go up.
Piloting is also a profession sans gender pay gap, as the pay is based on seniority and flying hours under union agreements.
The starting salary, including flying allowance, for pilots is US$25,000 to US$47,000 a year depending on the airline and type of aircraft, reported Reuters. According to the report, about 13 per cent of the pilots at IndiGo are women while at rival SpiceJet 12 per cent of pilots are women.
Some of IndiGo’s 330 female pilots are also managers. Apart from the money and perks, it is also the “safest job”.
“Women are more protected here than in any other place,” Ajay Singh, Chairman, SpiceJet, was quoted as saying. The growing interest in women towards the profession can be seen at the Bombay Flying Club, which has courses for commercial pilots.
The number of women has grown to about 25 per cent from less than 10 per cent five years ago. “The society is changing and there is more acceptance about working in the aviation sector,” said C Kumar, institute’s principal and chief instructor.