There are a total of 17,726 registered pilots in India, and of these, 2,764 are women.
According to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots, globally, around 5 per cent of all pilots are women.
However, the share of women pilots in India is significantly higher at over 15 per cent, said VK Singh, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, in a written reply to a question asked in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, 6 December.
India has twice the number of women pilots compared to most Western countries, including Australia and the United States, reported The New Indian Express.
Civil Aviation Ministry Taking Several Steps to Promote Pilot Training
The Indian Commercial Pilots Association, however, had recently accused the government-run Air India of actively discriminating against women. As per the report, the Association said that the Upgradation List "excluded or misspelt names of some women pilots who had taken maternity leaves."
This, in turn, would amount to the denial of their rightful service benefits like Leave Travel Concession (LTC). Besides, the association said it would also adversely affect their seniority, as per The New Indian Express.
Meanwhile, the civil aviation minister said the Women in Aviation International (WAI) India Chapter holds several awareness programs across India, focusing on young schoolgirls, mainly from poor families. The awareness programs, he said, were being conducted in collaboration with the Aviation industry, Ministry of Civil Aviation and leading women professionals in the field.
According to a press statement, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and its associated organisations have also taken several steps to promote pilot training in the country.
Providing greater empowerment to flying instructors, digitisation of approval process at DGCA, and the issue of award letters for nine new Flight Training Organizations (FTOs) with rationalised land charges at five airports (Jalgaon, Belagavi, Lilabari, Kalaburagi, and Khajuraho) of Airports Authority of India (AAI) are some of them.
The measures are likely to pave the way for the enhancement of flying hours at FTOs and increase the number of commercial pilot licenses issued per annum, thereby benefitting all pilots.
(With inputs from The New Indian Express)