“Reaching for the stars has always been my calling’ Captain Zoya on a Career in Aviation

Suparna Ghosh
Suparna Ghosh
Posted on 29 Nov 2022
12:17 PM
Captain Zoya Aggarwal, renowned Aviator, and an Indian commercial pilot and commander

Captain Zoya Aggarwal, renowned Aviator, and an Indian commercial pilot and commander Zoya Aggarwal

"Impossible is nothing if you aim at the bull's eye and strive to achieve it"
"With more awareness and opportunities available today, female pilots are being recognised for their passion and courage"

A career in Aviation has been a popular career choice among students in the last few years. The field offers multiple opportunities to be successful - one need only have the proper skillset, qualifications and understanding of how the aviation sector works. Captain Zoya Aggarwal is a renowned Aviator, and an Indian commercial pilot and commander. She has also made aviation history by becoming the first female Indian pilot to lead an all Indian female crew from San Francisco to Bangalore - India's longest non-stop commercial flight. Read what she has to say about her achievements, her journey and the pros and cons of a career in Aviation Management

1. You have been the 1st Woman Commander of Air India’s Boeing 777 aircraft and also the youngest as well. What would you like to say about your career journey? Have you always thought of this sector as your career?

It's the most humbling feeling to get the golden opportunity from your airline, from the people you have worked with throughout your career, your gurus, Ministry of Aviation and your country, to be entrusted with this huge responsibility. For as long as I know, reaching for the stars has always been my calling and I continue to carry forward all my goals with the same determination as the little 8-year-old me.


2. Compared to a career in other industries, how would you describe a career in the aviation sector? What, according to you, are the most important skills required to be successful in this industry?

Just like any other profession, a career in aviation does not come easy. Moreover, it's more of a selfless job where the passenger’s well-being must be your number one priority. It demands you to be alert and a multitasker along with demonstrating critical decision-making skills where you have the responsibility of over 4000 lives(refering to the Vande Bharat Mission) on your shoulders. Additionally, your management skills play a key role as you are heading the journey up in the air, focusing on multiple things at the same time. A good understanding of management skills improves your professional development as well as your ability to become a more organised person.

3. Do you think the aviation sector is achieving new heights with regard to career opportunities?

With times changing, I’m happy to see equal gender opportunities in a field that has always been male-dominated. With more awareness and opportunities available today, female pilots are being recognised for their passion and courage. Despite the gender stigma, there is a blurring of lines between men and women. I’m happy that I was among a handful of girl pilots when I entered Air India, but now we have the highest percentage in the world and to see it grow in front of my eyes, to be a part of this revolution, elates me.

Zoya Aggarwal

4. People have always seen the aviation sector as a career of glamour and allure. What is your take on this?

It is an amazing profession indeed, but at the same time not always glamorous. A lot of hard work is involved behind the scenes. You may see pilots and the flight crew walking around in their splendid uniforms, however, there are a lot of training hours and sacrifices that go along with it to make it a successful career.

5. If you had to name a popular career option in this sector, which would it be?

I think today there are endless possibilities for a career in aviation. There’s engineering, there’s working in operations, management, hospitality - it all depends on which side you are inclined towards and where your passion lies. Every option is in-demand in itself.

6. Education to enter the aviation sector these days has become a lot more accessible and varied. What’s your take on this? Do you think the aviation sector needs more accessibility in terms of growth as a career?

I think with time, there has definitely been accessibility in terms of career growth in aviation. Learning today is smart and advanced. But I believe there’s a lot more awareness required to help the sector grow even stronger. More of our children need to take up STEM in order to fulfill the shortage which is forecasted in the aviation industry.

7. Lastly, any piece of advice or insights you would like to pass on to youth aspiring to be a part of this sector?

My one crucial piece of advice would be to set a goal, be focused and work hard to achieve it. I believe it’s all in the approach and mindset. The only thing that should distract you from achieving something is yourself. Impossible is nothing if you aim at the bull's eye and strive to achieve it. There’s no room for distraction if you intend to work in this line of profession. And there is literally no limit to what can be achieved.

Last updated on 07 Dec 2022
10:55 AM
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