When we talk of women conquering the outside world, there are few examples that make it up to the mainstream news despite several women conquering their personal demons almost every day in the life. One such example is Zoya Aggarwal, the captain of Air India’s inaugural San Francisco-Bengaluru flight.
In a historic moment for Indian aviation, Air India’s longest direct route flight, with an all women crew landed at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on Monday. Zoya was part of an all woman aviation crew in a field that has been very male-dominated and has always invested but doubts in the female sex about its prowess to conquer the skies.
“Today, we created world history by not only flying over the North Pole but also by having all women pilots who successfully did it. We are extremely happy and proud to be part of it. This route has saved 10 tonnes of fuel”, said Zoya after one of her greatest accomplishments.
Captain Zoya Aggarwal, Captain Papagiri Thanmei, Captain Akanksha, and Captain Shivani are the four women pilots who scripted this piece of history. They were joined by the airline’s executive director of flight safety, captain Nivedita Bhasin. Captain Zoya Aggarwal, leading the crew, has more than 8,000 flying hours under her belt, including 10 years’ command and 2,500 hours on the Boeing 777. Air India claims to have the highest ratio of female employees of any airline in the world.
According to Air India, the AI176 flight flew at an altitude of 37,000 feet at a speed of 557 knots/1032 kmph. The flight was operated by a 12-year-old Boeing 777-200LR, registration VT-ALG and marked with the name ‘Kerala’ on the exterior and painted with the Mahatma Gandhi motif. Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri congratulated the four ladies. Puri wrote on Twitter, “In a moment to cherish & celebrate, women professionals of Indian civil aviation create history. Heartiest Congratulations to Capt Zoya Aggarwal, Capt Papagari Thanmai, Capt Akansha Sonaware & Capt Shivani for flying over the North Pole to land in Bengaluru from San Francisco”.