Monday, January 08, 2018

Phased out expatriate pilots: DGCA plans to seek numbers

New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued draft amendments to rules for licensing of foreign pilots by domestic airlines, and as per the proposed rules, the regulator plans to ask the air operators to state the number of expatriate pilots phased out by them. While the foreign aircrew temporary authorisation (FATA), for which the draft rules have been made public, is issued temporarily to overcome the shortage of trained senior pilots in the country, the government is also moving towards reducing the dependency of foreign pilots.

Last month, in a response to a question in Parliament, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said that four airlines — Air India Express, Alliance Air, Jet Airways, and IndiGo — collectively phased out 84 foreign pilots during 2017. However, as of December 1, 2017, there were around 249 foreign pilots employed by various domestic airlines. “All the operators/ airlines have been directed to develop their in-house strength to minimise the dependency on expatriate pilots,” Sinha had said in his response, adding that operators train and upgrade the Indian pilots they induct to reduce the number of expats.

As per the current rules, initially, a FATA is issued to a pilot for a period of three months, after which, if an extension is required, the foreign pilot will be required to pass Air Regulations examinations, and upon passing that exam, the authorisation will be extended “for a period of nine months or as decided by Director General subject to the overall policy of the Government”. The draft norms propose to amend the nine-month extension to “a maximum period of one year at a time or as decided by Director General subject to the overall policy of the Government”.
08/01/18 Indian Express