Ministry of Civil Aviation, in association with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Industry (FICCI),today organized an event to acknowledge and felicitate the contribution of women and to celebrate Women’s Achievements in Indian Aviation sector.
The event was graced byUnion Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia asthe Chief Guest. Other dignitaries include Shri Rajiv Bansal, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Smt. Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Smt. AshmitaSethi, Co-Chairman, FICCI Aviation Committee & Managing Director of Pratt & Whitney India and Smt. Radha Bhatia, President, Women in Aviation – India Chapter.The ceremony was also attended by the members of Women in Aviation International – India chapter, top dignitaries of MoCA, FICCI and representatives of airlines.
The Indian Civil Aviation sector has seen an increase in the participation of women. They are showing their mark in the airline industry and are pursuing careers as aircraft engineers, pilots, firefighters, ground crew, airport security etc registering their presence in the aviation industry.
Dwelling on the achievement of women in the sector, Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Union Minister of Civil Aviation said “This is a landmark day to be remembered. The success of women in aviation is not confined to airports or airplanes but to a much larger ecosystem. 15% of our pilots in India are women which is 3 times more than the global average. But this 15% is not good enough as women have surpassed various odds and stereotypes and I firmly believe there must come a day in India that this 15% must reach 50% of our pilot strength in our country. For this to achieve, we must start from having easy access to STEM education to our young girls in their early education”.
The Minister further added “In next decade, the backbone of Indian infrastructure is going to be civil aviation which transports roughly 144 million people and have a growth potential double that of Indian Railways. Therefore, there is a need to train more pilots. For this, we have come out with a new FTO policy in which we are looking to setup 9 new FTOs in 5 new cities as this will help in reducing the outflow of foreign exchange in training our pilots abroad and unleashing another avenue for our women to participate much greater in civil aviation.”
20 women achievers who have played a significant role in the aviation sector, were felicitated during the event. (List in Annexure I)Apart from Felicitation ceremony, a book was also released titled “From Sarees to Strip – TrueStories of Commercial Women Pilots in India”authored by Manisha Puri depicting the ascendency of women in Indian Aviation.
Ms. Neerja Sodhi
Manager Commercial (Retd.) Air India
Neerja has over 33 years of rich, diverse experience in various aspects of public relations, airline operations and management with Air India. Neerja has also spearheaded the Premium Care Unit at Delhi Airport
Capt. Kunjal Bhatt
Capt.Bhatt is the first woman ‘Head of Training’ at Indira Gandhi RashtriyaUranAkademi. She is currently the Chief Flying Instructor at IGRUA.
Ms. Shital Mahajan Rane
Shital Mahajan is a professional woman skydiver and Padmashri awardee 2011. Since 2012, Shital has represented India in Skydiving Championships around the world. Shital Mahajan is the first Indian woman to perform a parachute jump at the North Pole & the bottom of the world, South Pole in minus 37/38 degrees Celsius.
Dr. Sarita Ahlawat
Dr Sarita Ahlawat is the Co-Founder of Botlab Dynamics Pvt. Ltd. a Robotics start-up specializing in building drone swarm technology incubated at IIT Delhi. She is responsible for the swarm drone show at the Beating Retreat 2022.
Capt. Nivedita Bhasin (Retd.)
Capt. Nivedita Bhasin is India’s pioneer Woman Pilot of Indian Airlines (now Air India). Capt Nivedita Bhasin became the world’s youngest Woman Jet Commander, and the world’s first Woman Airline Pilot to fly the Dreamliner, Boeing 787. Recently, Capt. Nivedita Bhasin superannuated after a glorious Airline flying career that spanned more than 37 years. Nivedita is one of the founding members of the women in aviation India chapter.
Ms. Neelu Khatri
Neelu Khatri – Co-Founder and Senior Vice President, Akasa Air. Akasa Air is scheduled to commence operations in the summer of 2022 . Prior to this, Ms.Khatri was the President of Honeywell Aerospace in India handling the defence, aerospace, aviation and space business.
Captain Anushree Varma
Chief of Flight Safety, Safety Manager, SpiceJet
Captain Varma literally grew up in SpiceJet to become one of the youngest Chief of Flight Safety professionals for a scheduled airline in the history of Indian Civil Aviation. She is a trainer on Boeing 737 aircraft and has headed the Pilot Recruitment Cell.
Flt. Lt. Shivangi Singh
Flt Lt Shivangi Singh was born on 24th July 1995, in Varanasi(Uttar Pradesh). She has done schooling from St. Josephs’ Convent School, B.Sc. (Phy and Maths) from Sunbeam College (Varansi). Shivangi has taken part in Republic Day Parade through NCC Air wing and had the privilege of representing my country as Youth Ambassador through Youth Exchange Program in Bangladesh. She joined IAF academy at Dundigal in Jul 2016. After doing basic military training and studying ground subjects related to aviation, she started flying Pilatus PC-7 Mk-II as part of stage-1 training, in Jan 2017. By the end of stage-1 training, she was shortlisted to join Fighter Stream of Indian Airforce. After successful completion of training, Shivangi got commissioned in Fighter Streams in Dec 2017. Afterwards she flew Basic Fighter Jet, Hawk Mk-132 and got posted to a Fighter Sqn in Feb, 2019 where she flew Mig-21 Bison and became the youngest fully Operational pilot in Mig-21 Bison. She currently flies Rafale.
Tulsi Nowlakha Mirchandaney
She is the MD and Accountable Manager of Blue Dart Aviation, India’s only scheduled domestic cargo airline and longest serving private carrier. She has been actively associated with India’s airline industry for the past 52 years and with Blue Dart for 27 years.
Ritika as an entrepreneur, launched her own travel company – Mod Travels, in the early nineties PAN India, which today is a leading name in the Indian travel industry diaspora. She led it to confer as the Most Preferred Operator for Business Travel by CNBC Award in 2013. Under the leadership and able guidance of a travel veteran, UNIGLOBE in no time has expanded to 50+ locations across India and Bangladesh, with an annualized turnover of over INR 2,000+ Crores, making it the largest single-brand travel franchise network in the South Asia Region.
Mrs. Sophiya T V
Mrs. Sophiya Anil is a heavy equipment operator at Bird Worldwide Flight Services . She holds a heavy equipment driving license and operates the DBT/EBT and Ramp Vehicles.
Mrs. Bini T I
Bini T. I. is the General Manager, Civil Engineering, Cochin International Airport. She has been instrumental in the planning and construction of the airport from inception to full operational capability in 1999. She spearheaded the development of the New International and Domestic Terminals. She constituted a team of lady engineers to complete the runway re-carpeting in 2020.
Capt. Mayuri Deshmukh
Capt. Mayuri Deshmukh of Pawan Hans Ltd, has created history in India by becoming the country’s first female Off Shore Captain. Through organizations like Pawan Hans Ltd and ONGC Capt. Deshmukh fulfilled her dream of flying offshore.
Capt. Ashima Mendiratta
Capt Ashima Mendiratta is a passionate and dedicated helicopter pilot for Pawan Hans Ltd . She is the youngest female to become Pilot In Command in Indian Civil Aviation Industry on multi engine helicopters.
Capt. Neha Malhotra
Ms. Neha is one of the first few approved DGCA Drone Instructors. She has started a DGCA approved Remote Pilot Training Organization (Drone Academy) by the name of Ganpati Aviation Solutions LLP.
Ms. Kanika Tekriwal
Ms. Kanika Tekriwal, CEO & Co-Founder, JetSetGo, which currently manages and operates India’s largest private jet and helicopter fleet.
Lt. Commander Pushpa Pandey
Lt. Commander Pushpa Pandey is with Bangalore International Airport Limited, with experience in Air Traffic Control, Airspace redesignation, Airside Operations, Aircraft Safety and Emergency Response Planning. Prior to joining BIAL, she was working as Commissioned Officer in Indian Navy (2002-2023).
Ms. Kiranjeet Jain
Ms. Kiran Jain is an aviation management professional with over 25 years of experience in aviation, in both airports and airlines. Currently, Kiran is the Chief Operating Officer of Noida International Airport, one of the first woman COOs at an airport in India and is part of the founding members of the women in aviation India chapter.
Mrs. M. Sathiyavathy
Smt. M. Sathiyavathy who hails from Chennai, is a Post Graduate & gold medalist in Mathematics from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. She then joined the Indian Revenue Service in 1981 and thereafter the Indian Administrative Service in 1982. Ms.Sathiyavathy was the first and only female DGCA, Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Ms. Parul Kulshreshtha
Head of GMR Aviation Academy.
Ms. ParulKulshreshtha is an awarded young leader with experience in Aviation, Air Cargo, Vaccine Logistics, Infrastructure, Aviation Education and Training. She is currently the Chief of GMR Aviation Academy. She is also currently the Chairman of Air Cargo Forum India (ACFI), Hyderabad Chapter.
Lt. Cdr. Swati Bhandari
Lt. Cdr. Swati Bhandari is a commissioned Indian Navy Officer. She is fully qualified on P8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance &Anti Submarine Warfare (LRMR-ASW) aircraft. She holds the highest CAT ‘A’ qualification and is also the youngest woman in India to be awarded Mission Controller and Captain of Aircraft clearance on P8I Aircraft.
Capt. Zoya Aggarwal:
Captain Zoya Agarwal is a Commander with Air India and the youngest woman to fly Boeing 777 in 2013. In 2021 Zoya led the historic Polar flight where she led an all-women’s crew across the North Pole over the longest route in the world creating World Aviation history. Zoya is a global spokesperson with UN women for generation equality. Zoya has given 11 Ted X and Ted Talks and has also been covered by platforms such as BBC, CNN, and Forbes etc.
Capt. Vandita Verma
Line Training Captain, Flight Operations, Indigo Airlines Capt. Vandita Verma, took the lead to be proactive and resourceful during the second wave of Covid and developed a website that provided extended support regarding RTPCR test, Plasma, Food for patients and family, setup of Home care unit and many more. This website validates the authenticity of such information from various sources before sharing with people who needed the most.
Ms Yasmin Ali
Lead Cabin Attendant, Inflight services, Indigo Airlines, Ms. Yasmin Ali is being felicitated for her courage, presence of mind and compassion she displayed during a road accident in which she also coordinated with the base and transport team and arranged for the casualty to be taken to a hospital while she reported to the base to operate this rescue flight she had willingly agreed to undertake.
Lucky Verrma Bhasker
Head-Airside Operations, DIAL
Started her career with Airport Authority of India and has successfully led several critical functions of Aviation business such as Airport Operations (Airside & Terminals), Hub development for Aviation Services, Course Developer & Business Development for GMR Aviation Academy. Her key achievements include first ISO certification of IGI Airport. She was also the core task force member during IC-814 hijack.
Head Terminal Operations, GHIAL (RGIA)
Bibiana is a seasoned professional in the field of Quality Management, Customer Services and Operations. She has a diversified experience of around 30 years in hospitality, Tourism & Travel and aviation sector including airlines and airports. She was awarded ‘Woman Leader of the Year 2018’, by UBS Transformance.
GM / Sr. Specialist, GHIAL (RGIA)
Charulatha, joined as GET and is currently working as GM. She is Technical Specialist in Airport Development Strategy and Design Management with Degree in Mechanical Engineering having rich expertise in design and assessment of Mechanical & Airport Systems, Aerodrome Master Planning, Operations & Terminal Planning, Capacity Planning. A core project management professional, who has spent 17 years in GMR Group. Charulatha has led various Airport Concession bids on behalf of GMR such as, Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, Male Mactan-Cebu International, Airport-Philippines, Mopa Airport, Kasteli Airport Crete – Greece, etc.
Jt. General Manager (Finance), AAI
Deputy General Manager (Land Management), AAI
Jyoti Dhingra, Sr. Manager (Customer Engagement), Vistara
With Vistara since 2015 (inception phase)
COVID-19 outbreak disrupted airline operations and with that, the travel plans of thousands of our customers. Announcement of lockdown further added to the problem. She took up the challenge and was able to shift the contact center team, telephony system and technology to the homes of customer service agents within a day. Throughout Wave 1 and Wave 2 lockdown, contact center operations were running seamlessly.