First flight from Goa to Dehradun flies with Goan woman as co-pilot


Water canon salute was given by AAI to inaugural indigo flight operating directly from Goa to Dehradun. Photo: Twitter/@aaidoonairport

The first-ever flight connecting Goa to Dehradun turned into a memorable event for Shasha Saldanha, the co-pilot, who believes the historic journey would inspire more women to pursue a career in aviation.

According to a senior official from the State Tourism Department, the IndiGo flight took Goa’s Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte to Dehradun on May 23 as part of an agreement between Uttarakhand and Goa to boost tourism in both the states.

Uttarakhand was connected to Goa through this maiden flight.

The official said that Ms. Saldanha who lives at Parra village in North Goa, the hometown of former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, was specially requested to co-pilot the aircraft as a sign of women empowerment.

Speaking to PTI at the Manohar International Airport (also called Mopa International Airport), Ms. Saldanha said that she felt honoured and grateful to be part of “the historic day in the Indian aviation”.

“The inaugural Mopa-Dehradun flight was welcomed with a water canon salute as we steered away from the runway,” she said.

Ms. Saldanha said that it was a moment of pride for her to “be able to fly our Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte” along with a team of delegates to the scenic city of Dehradun.

“I hope my inaugural flight to Dehradun is one of many opportunities and experiences that are presented to the women in the field of aviation. I also hope that young women will find our stories motivating and be inspired to study and apply for ambitious roles in this sector,” she added.

Ms. Saldanha said that the pact between Uttarakhand and Goa will not only boost tourism in both the states but also open the path of connectivity within the diverse country.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami was present in Dehradun when Goa and the hilly State signed the agreement as part of Prime Minister’s “Dekho Apna Desh” initiative.

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