BENGALURU: In a significant gesture by the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) to mark the International Women’s Day, a team of 36 women employees was put in charge of the entire airport operations from 6 am to 2 pm on Thursday. A total of 245 aircraft either took off or landed during this period. A few airlines, including Indigo, Air Asia and GoAir, operated flights with all-women crew to celebrate the day.
The Airport Operations Control Centre (AOCC), Control Tower of Air Traffic Control, airside operations, aviation safety, guest relations and terminal operations were completely handled by women. Airside operations include managing the taxiways, runways, taxiway designators, apron (area where aircraft are parked, loaded or unloaded or refuelled), safety regulation section and Follow-Me cars used to guide aircraft to safety, said an official release. The women were put through a six-month stringent training session to equip them to handle operations completely on the D-day.
Briefing mediapersons, Chief Human Resources officer, BIAL, T C Sajit said, “Women have handled very sensitive roles today. This is a conscious development of leadership on our part.” Out of 900 employees, 134 are women who constitute 15% of the workforce, he informed.Javed Malik, Chief Operating Officer, BIAL said, “The idea of an all-women shift was conceptualised by mid-April 2017. Due to the sensitivity and complexity of airport operations, there was no room for error. The women were given intense on-the-job training for their specific allocation. Review meetings were held every week.”
Novel experience for female staff
Among the women out in full force today were Vanishree K S and N Vidhya, seated in a Follow-Me vehicle. Vanishree, a senior executive in the Data Analysis section was delighted in her new role today. She told The New Indian Express, “I found it very exciting. I normally work at a desk job and to be out in the field during an entire shift performing a role like this was a very different kind of experience for me.”
Beena Jayachandran who has served as a Manager at AOCC for over 10 years, said, “Working in the Apron Control section is a very highly critical role. While generally one woman is usually there in a shift, we brought together women across our 24x7 shifts to ensure a four-member woman team ran the show today.”