Harpreet A De Singh has been appointed as the chief executive officer of Alliance Air, a regional subsidiary of Air India. Reportedly the first woman pilot selected into Air India in 1988, she is now the first woman ever to be heading an Indian airline carrier.
Times of India reported that on October 30th, Air India Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Rajiv Bansal issued stating that Harpreet Singh “will hold the charge of Alliance Air CEO post till further orders.”
Singh’s Journey To Becoming The First Female CEO Of An Indian Airline
After being appointed as a commercial pilot in 1988, Singh had to give up her flying job soon because of health issues. However, she continued to be an active part of ensuring flight safety.
Singh’s other achievements include heading the Indian Women Pilot Association.
Prior to being appointed CEO, Singh was the executive director (flight safety) at Air India. This position will now be filled by Captain Nivedita Bhasin. Bhasin, who currently flies the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, is also one of the airline’s most senior commanders.
The Progress In India’s Aviation Industry Has Been Slow, But The Possibility Of A More Inclusive Future Looks Promising
Even though aviation has been a part of the nation for over a hundred years, it’s just in the last few decades that we’ve seen a lot of firsts for women in the aviation industry.
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The first batch of female pilots entered the IAF in the 90s. Three women were declared India’s first female fighter pilots just in 2016. And now we have Singh heading an Indian airline for the first time in 2020.
The International Society of Women Airline Pilots released data in 2018 that shows that India has the highest percentage of female pilots in the world. The percentage of women pilots in India, according to the data, is also more than double the global average!
The change and progress towards opening the doors to women in historically male dominated roles and positions of authority, has clearly been slow. But it’s heartening to see that progress, no matter how gradual, exists.
Kudos to Harpreet Singh, and all the women before her who refused to let the fact that their wanting a career in the aviation industry was an anomaly, stop them from trying to achieve great things within it.
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