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Weaver’s daughter on path to becoming Malegaon’s first commercial pilot

Tuesday July 17, 2018 7:17 PM, Aneequa Sabahat Faizee,

Alia Tabassum

[Alia Tabassum has so far been trained to pilot 02, 04, 06 and 08 seater planes. (Photos:]

Malegaon: Alia Tabassum, daughter of a weaver Shafeeque Ahmed, is set to become Malegaon’s first commercial pilot.

Alia got her initial aviation training from Madhya Pradesh Flying Club, Indore. The Madhya Pradesh Flying Club (MPFC) awarded her the Student Pilot License in June 2018. Alia is at present receiving aviation training needed to become a Commercial Pilot at Capt. Sahil Khurana Aviation Academy in New Delhi.

“She joined Capt. Sahil Khurana Aviation Academy last year in November. She has successfully passed the first semester exam and is now preparing for the final exam which is likely to be held in November 2018”, Shafeeque Ahmed, whose ancestors had migrated from Uttar Pradesh, said while talking to

Alia, a student of Science stream who completed her education from Iram Primary School and Malegaon Girls’ High School, has from her childhood wanted to become a pilot. The driving force behind the idea was her father who after facing humiliation at Mumbai airport vowed that someone from his family must join the aviation industry.

“I with my wife was traveling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj in 2005. Unfortunately, we reached the Mumbai airport late and when the immigration staff was about to wrap up. Despite our pleas, the staff was refusing to allow us from boarding the plane. What pained us the most was that they misbehaved with us despite the fact that we were going to perform Haj and were wearing ihram”, Shafeeque recalled.

Alia Tabassum

“Suddenly we saw the pilot, who was accompanied by some crew members, approaching the desk. When he saw us pleading with the immigration staff, he asked them to clear our papers and allow us to board the plane as there was still some time left for take-off”, Shafeeque said.

“That we were able to fly to Saudi Arabia and perform Haj because of the intervention of the pilot was a totally unexpected, though very kind, experience for us. I could not stop myself from hugging the pilot and repeatedly extending our gratitude to him”, he added.

Shafeeque said onboard the flight the pilot invited him inside the cockpit. He was overwhelmed by the pilot’s gesture. “It was then I vowed that someone from my family should become a pilot”, he said.

Alia Tabassum belongs to the Blue Bird family of Malegaon - a major textile centre of India located in North Maharashtra. The family is popular for its colored sarees, grey cloth and lungis. Besides, the Blue Bird family also has the distinction of giving Malegaon City its first Muslim MBBS doctor.

She has so far been trained to pilot 02, 04, 06 and 08 seater planes. She will be the first commercial pilot of Malegaon once she completes her training at Capt. Sahil Khurana Aviation Academy and issued a license.

“Unlike the popular perception, Malegaon is the city where girls too are provided with equal opportunities. There is absolutely no obstacle if anyone wants to pursue higher education or make careers even in a field like aviation”, she said.

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