Air India’s all-women-crew pilots get a rousing welcome at Indian Consulate, New York

Air India says it has become the first airline to fly around the world with an all-female crew, just ahead of International Women’s Day.

“Air India scripted history by flying an all-women crew flight around the world,” the airline said in a statement on Facebook, after Flight AI 174 touched back down in New Delhi on Friday.

The Boeing 777 flew from New Delhi to San Francisco last Monday, traveling over the Pacific Ocean. The crew completed a mandatory rest period before flying over the Atlantic back to New Delhi, completing the round-the-world trip.

“Literally with high flying women. All 4 Air India flights into US today, JFK, Newark, Chicago & SFo were commandered by women pilots. We were delighted to honour 8 women pilots at the Consulate on #Internationalwomensday .Big thanks to Vandana Sharma of @airindiain & FIA,” tweeted Consul General of India, New York, Sandeep Chakravorty.

In addition to the four flights to the US, the airline flew all-women-crew flights to destinations including Milan, Frankfurt, and Singapore.

“The national carrier has planned several flights on its domestic and international sectors operated only by its women employees to salute woman power,” the airliner had said last week in a press release. It had announced that the all-women-crew flights that the company intends to operate to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day will have women pilots in addition to women cabin crew, check-in staff, doctor, commercial staff, ground operators to technicians, engineers, flight dispatchers and even safety and quality auditors.

Air India reiterated that by flying all-women-crew in its flights it wants to stress on its constant efforts to encourage women by giving them an equal opportunity in the workplace.

The schedule for the crews was also planned by a woman – Amrita Sharan, Executive Director Integration and Industrial Relations and in charge of Crew Management, announced the carrier.

Smiling members of Air India’s crew, wearing saris and jackets, posed for selfies in San Francisco International Airport last Monday before setting off on the final leg of the trip.

Every member of staff — from the flight’s captains to the cabin crew, check-in and ground handling staff — were women. Even the engineers, who certified the aircraft, and air traffic controllers, who cleared its departure and arrival, were women, the company said.

An Air India spokesman told the media that the airline has applied for a Guinness World Record to mark the occasion, part of a series of all-women flights scheduled to mark International Women’s Day on March 8.

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