An Indian woman has become the youngest female commander of a Boeing 777 aircraft in the world.
Anny Divya gained the title of commander at just 30 years old, overcoming her humble beginnings to achieve what had always been considered an outlandish ambition by her local community.
“Luckily my parents have been very supportive, even though a lot of people were telling them not to send me for flying lessons,” Divya told Mirror Now. “There was a lot of resistance all around – especially the fees, which were a lot for [my parents] to pay at that time.”
Hailing from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, Divya was educated at the Kendriya Vidyalaya, reported Business Standard. Most of her classmates wanted to become engineers and doctors at the advice of their parents, but Divya always wanted to take a different path.
“From my childhood I wanted to become a pilot,” she said. “Even though I didn’t have much guidance around how to do that.”
With her parents’ support, she eschewed the traditional career paths and enrolled with the flying school Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi when she was just 17. Divya worked hard, earning herself a scholarship and completing her training at 19 years old. She was employed by Air India, and continued her steady rise up the ranks, learning to fly a Boeing 737 in Spain before completing advanced training in London which saw her fly a Boeing 777, the world’s largest twin jet.
“I had the option to take command on a 737 but [the Boeing 777] is the plane I always wanted to fly in command so I had to wait a bit longer,” said Divya. “This is what I wanted to do.”
While working with Air India, Divya has earned a degree in BSc Aviation and done a course in classical keyboard, plus used her salary to change her family’s fortunes – she has financed both her brother and sister’s studies abroad and bought a house for her parents.
She encouraged other women to go after what they want: “All women should pursue their dreams, especially right now,” she added.
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