Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pilot shortage hits smaller planes

New Delhi: Big is better. That's something airlines with smaller planes such as CRJs (over 50-seaters) and ATRs (40-70 seats) are learning fast. They are losing pilots by the droves as they prefer the greener pastures of airlines with bigger jets such as Boeings and Airbus. Not only do they get to fly better machines, it's a better career move and salaries could be 40-50% more.
So even as the sky gets dotted with newer airlines, pilots are few and far between. Some 3,000 pilots will be needed over the next five years in India. Industry sources says some 30% of present orders are for smaller planes.
The shortage of CRJ/ATR pilots has especially hit the big daddy of low-budget airlines, Air Deccan, which has 22 ATRs and 14 Airbuses. "The attrition rate among my ATR pilots was so high," says Capt G R Gopinath, head of the airline."
13/08/06 Shobha John/Times of India
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