Monday, May 25, 2020

From managing director to pilot: How women at Blue Dart are playing crucial roles during the pandemic

From a charter load to critical shipments, Blue Dart Aviation has transported tonnes of cargo carrying essential supplies since the nationwide lockdown began, to keep the mission-critical supply chain running, and helping the nation in fighting the war against the coronavirus pandemic. It recently operated its Boeing 757-200 freighter cross border on the Kolkata-Guangzhou, China-Guwahati-Kolkata route, to bring critical PPE and COVID-19 related medical supplies.  Blue Dart freighters flew on the Kolkata-Dhaka-Kolkata route frequently, and on the Delhi-Guangzhou, China-Delhi, and Kolkata-Guangzhou, China-Kolkata routes throughout in April 2020.  Among the staff, two women at Blue Dart are playing crucial roles during the pandemic.
Managing Director of Blue Dart Aviation Tulsi Mirchandaney’s journey began in 1995 even before the launch of the company.
“Led by the founder of Blue Dart Clyde Cooper, we worked towards the culmination of this historic event – the launch of India’s first domestic cargo airline in 1996. I started my career with Japan Airlines in Kolkata, and subsequently have had stints in Mumbai (then Bombay), Bengaluru (with Air France Cargo), Delhi, and Chennai,” Tulsi recalls.
Aviation was not a planned career move for her. It was a stop-gap arrangement to fund her further studies. She holds an MBA degree in International Aviation from Concordia University, Montreal.
During her almost five decades-long career, Tulsi has several achievements to her credit. Under her tenure, the company phased out its vintage fleet of B737-200 freighters, replacing them with the higher capacity and more fuel-efficient B757-200s. The support for the freighter conversions and inductions have been carried out successfully by the team, together with major aircraft modifications and upgrade. Technology has been innovated in-house to support training, quality monitoring and assurance, HR and business intelligence, and infrastructure and facilities have been expanded across airports to provide greater operations efficiency, and a more conducive work environment, among others.
“The biggest challenge for us has been the rising cost of ATF against the depreciation of the Indian rupee. Apart from this, the increasing cost of infrastructure has significantly affected our business’s increasing cost burden. We have also been facing challenges at the airports as the infrastructure primarily caters to passenger airlines only,” she says.
Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, Tulsi says, Blue Dart has supported the Indian government, several state governments, local municipalities, hospitals, and research institutions.
25/05/20 Rekha Balakrishnan/Your Story
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