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For the first time in Indian aviation, a woman has been appointed as the CEO of an Indian carrier. The government-appointed Harpreet A De Singh as the CEO of Air India's (AI) regional subsidiary Alliance Air.
The CMD Rajiv Bansal of the airlines issued an order on Friday stating that Singh will hold the charge of Alliance Air CEO post till further orders.
Presently, she was working as Air India's executive director for flight safety. Replacing her role as Executive Director, Captain Nivedita Bhasin, one of the airline's most senior commanders will take charge. Captain Nivedita Bhasin has also been asked to head several other departments with her vast experience.
According to a Times Of India report, Harpreet Singh was the first woman pilot to be selected by Air India back in 1988. Back then, she could not fly due to health reasons but over the years she has been very active in the area of flight safety. She was also the head of the Indian Women Pilot Association. The association includes other senior women commanders who are looked as role models by budding pilots.
Among all the Indian carriers, Air India has the highest ratio of woman pilots. It saw women applying for the positions of pilot jobs mainly in two phases.
The first phase was in the mid-1980s. The next phase started in 2005 when private low-cost airlines started growing in the country. Looking back in time, Indian Airlines was the first to hire women pilots back then in the early 1980s.
Captain Saudamani Deshmukh, who is also now a member Indian Women Pilot Association, was among one the first woman commander in India. While the global average of woman pilots has been around 3 per cent, India's average comes to be around 10%.
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