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Captain Zoya on Duty 

ISP Delhi Bureau 

Captain Zoya has created history with her sheer go getter attitude. She is  an Indian commercial pilot who has flown for Air India. A year ago, she created news by captaining an all-woman crew making the inaugural flight from San Francisco to Bengaluru, one of the longest non-stop air routes in the world. She is not just the first Indian female pilot to fly above the North Pole,  in due recognition to  her achievement and hard work, Captain Zoya Agarwal made history by cementing her place in the SFO aviation museum. In her  historic flight over the North Pole, she covered a record-breaking distance of around 16,000kms, a first ever.  

It was a momentous occasion not just for Zoya but for the whole of India as for the first time ever, an all-female crew of Air India led by Zoya Agarwal covered the world’s longest air route from San Francisco (SFO) to Bengaluru, covering the North Pole. She is a senior Air India pilot of the Boeing 777 aircraft. 

Captain Zoya’s career started with a bang. In 2006, The Times of India highlighted Agarwal as a rising female aviator of India. She became the youngest woman pilot in India to fly a Boeing-777 in 2013. She garnered substantial public attention for her role in saving a passenger’s life on a flight bound to New York in 2015 after a passenger complained of breathlessness. A good aviator, Zoya without panicking, followed protocols, led the team in stress and decided to turn back the flight and land at Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, where the passenger was taken to a nearby hospital and life was saved. 

With a superb track record in her career, she has been chosen by the government of India for many critical operations as well. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India initiated Vande Bharat Mission in May 2020 to evacuate around 14,800 Indians from twelve countries on sixty-four Air India flights. Agarwal was chosen to co-pilot the first repatriation flight by the airline.

After the all-woman crew made the inaugural flight from San Francisco to Bengaluru, Zoya and her team made an appearance on Indian Idol for its Republic Day special episode. Later that year, Agarwal was chosen by the United Nations as its spokesperson for Generation Equality 

In recognition of her work, Zoya got inducted into a prominent US-based aviation museum – Louis A Turpen aviation museum in 2022. The San Francisco  based aviation museum recognised Zoya Agarwal’s illustrious career in aviation and her passion for empowering women worldwide. She has motivated millions of young women and girls to achieve their ambitions, says the aviation museum in detailing her profile. 

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