Sunday, July 07, 2019

Foreign pilots’ strength on upswing

Chandigarh: Even though issuance of commercial pilot licences by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DCGA) has seen a steady rise in the past five years, the number of foreign pilots being employed by Indian operators has spiked, indicating a shortage of aircrew within the country.
While the strength of foreign pilots with airlines in India rose from 280 in 2015 to 324 in 2018, the figure has already touched 404 by June this year, data made available by the Ministry of Civil Aviation this week has revealed.

The number of fresh commercial pilot licences (CPL) issued went up from 394 in 2015 to 659 in 2018. Till May this year, 313 licences have been issued. According to DGCA registers, there are 17 scheduled operators in India, which between them operate over 650 aircraft of various types. In addition there are 98 non-scheduled or charter operators.
Reports say the commercial aircraft fleet in India is set to double in the coming 8-10 years and about 100 new aircraft are expected to join Indian operators over the next two years. This places great demand on the availability of certified, type-rated aircrew. The strength of commercial pilots in India at present is estimated to be about 8,000 and according to industry experts, another 15,000 to 17,000 pilots would be required over the next decade.

A DGCA official said at its peak, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi, a premier institution, took in 133 trainees a year. Some institutes barely have half a dozen trainees at a time. Serviceability of aircraft and funds an issue with some.
07/07/19 Vijay Mohan/Tribune
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