Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Job crunch forcing Indian pilots to work for overseas flights

New Delhi: The job crunch for trained pilots in India is pushing them to go abroad where working conditions may not be as good. Employment opportunities in domestic airlines and national carriers of other countries lands them in small countries especially in the Gulf, Middle-east and South-East Asia where the aviation sector is expanding.

As more details of the crash of a Lion Air aircraft in Indonesia trickles in, it transpires that Captain Bhavye Suneja, who was piloting the ill-fated plane, wanted to return to India. Like him, most Indian pilots working abroad if given a chance would like to return to India.

Due to the rate of expansion of the aviation sector in the Gulf and South East Asia jobs are easily available for Indian pilots in these parts of the world. Apart from Lion Air, Silk Air, Scoot, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways are some of the airlines that hire pilots from India.

But there is another catch here. A pilot after getting a commercial pilot’s license is also desperate to get a job somehow. Unless they practice what they have been trained for, the expenditure on training even if it is in the US or UK goes down the drain. “Small countries are short of skilled airline pilots, so they hire from India and other countries,” said a pilot from India.

The choices of an Indian pilot are limited as bigger airlines like British Airways and Lufthansa give preference to nationals of their own countries. “There are only nine airlines worldwide which hire pilots from India,” said the pilot from India.

He said Indian pilots are much in demand there. “Lion Airlines has a contract with a flying academy in India and there are many more Indian pilots working in the airline,” said the pilot.
30/10/18 Abhijeet Anand/Statesman

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