For the first time in Indian aviation, a woman has been named the CEO of a carrier. Harpreet A De Singh has been named the CEO Air India's regional subsidiary Alliance Air. She is currently Air India's executive director for flight safety. Captain Nivedita Bhasin, who is one of the airline's senior commanders and currently flies Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be the first executive director of flight safety.
CMD Rajiv Bansal issued the order on Friday. He said that Singh will hold the charge of Alliance Air CEO till further orders, as mentioned in a report in Times of India. Additionally, Bhasin has also been asked to head several other departments, along with flight safety.
Singh was the first woman pilot to be selected by the airline in 1988 but she could not fly due to health reasons. However, she is known for her contribution in the area of flight safety. She also headed the Indian Women Pilot Association.
Air India has the highest ratio of women pilots among Indian carriers. Women applied for pilot jobs in large numbers in mid-1980s. Another surge was seen around 2005 when low-cost private airlines started to emerge. India has the highest average of women pilots in the world at 10 per cent, as against the global average of 2-3 per cent.
It must be mentioned that Alliance Air is not part of the Air India-AI Express-AISATS combine that is on sale. It will remain an PSU for now. Air India's old Boeing 747s will be transferred to Alliance Air if the airline is sold and privatised.