First Female Turbaned Sikh Pilot Congratulated by SGPC
Arpinder Kaur of San Antonio, Texas was the first turbaned pilot hired by a commercial airline in the United States. As a Sikhni, she has helped pave the way for both Sikh men and women to wear a dastaar/turban to fulfill their passion for flying.
AMRITSAR SAHIB, Punjab—SGPC President Gobind Singh Longowal on January 4 also congratulated Arpinder Kaur on becoming first turbaned commercial Sikh pilot in United State of America. He has also congratulated the parents of Arpinder Kaur who facilitated him such a high cost training education and training while remaining adamant on Sikh tenets.
In March 2008, after resolving the issue of wearing her dastaar on-the-job, with the help of the Sikh Coalition, Arpinder Kaur was officially hired by American Airlines as a First Officer. She filed her grievance for accommodation of her religious article of faith based on American Airlines’ allowance of “regulation approved hats”. An agreement was reached that is consistent with state and federal anti-discrimination law. In June 2008 she finished her pilot training program and is now flying Embraer Jets for American Eagle, a regional airline that is part of AMR based out of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
S. Gobind Singh Longowal has said that Bibi Arpinder Kaur has made the entire Sikh community feel proud He added that Sikh identity will be recognized worldwide with appointment of Bibi Arpinder Kaur as a commercial pilot in a full-fledged Sikh dress.
Longowal also hailed the United States’ commercial airline for appointing Bibi Arpinder Kaur as a commercial pilot side-lining discrimination on the basis of religion. He added that the appointment of Bibi Arpinder Kaur as a commercial pilot has proved that the Sikh students can do everything abroad without trimming their hairs.
When Arpinder Kaur was asked why she chose to do this, she said: “Two of the reasons I did this were: first, my love of flying and, second, to set a precedent for the community so they know you can be in your Sikh appearance and do anything out there; so that my younger brothers and sisters (the rising generation) will pursue their passions while practicing their Sikh faith.”
Her passion for flying first started when at the age of 15 she got to sit in the cockpit of an airplane when moving from Panjab. Despite having a degree in Information Systems and her mothers belief that it was too dangerous for a girl to be a pilot, Kaur has chosen to follow her passion; while using it as a means for supporting her family.
Kaur said it was the love and support of her husband, Pritpal Singh that pushed her forward on the path toward becoming a pilot. Kulbir Singh Sandhu, captain with AMR mentored her throughout her aviation career.
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