Monday, October 11, 2021

Proposal to nullify pilot license if unused for over 3 years draws flak from industry

Mumbai: Pilots who don’t use their flying license for over three straight years stand to lose it, according to an amendment to the existent aviation regulations, proposed recently by the civil aviation ministry. For thousands of jobless pilots in India, the draft amendment, if passed, would mean spending thousands of rupees every three years to fly, in order to hold on to their flying licenses. Currently, that minimum mandatory flying to keep a license valid needs to be done only once every five years.

The extraordinary gazette published on September 30 lists the draft rules amending the Indian Aircraft Rules-1937 and is currently open for objections and suggestions till month end. The draft rules increase the validity of a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) and the higher, Airline Transport Pilot License(ATPL) to ten years from the current five years. But with a condition, which appears on page 18. It states: "In case where the privileges of the licence has not been exercised during the validity period of licence, for a period exceeding 03 years, the applicant shall be required to requalify in examinations and skill tests required for issue of such licence before exercising the privileges of such licence.”

"The new rules will reduce the workload on the aviation regulator as each license will come up for renewal every ten years and not five years," said a flying training instructor. "But it adds to the woes of jobless pilots. A student spends Rs 25-30 lakh to earn a CPL. India has over 5000 jobless CPL holders currently. The proposed change will send them to flying school every 3 years where they will do some minutes of flying with an instructor to hold on to their license. With Covid and Jet Airways closure, life was anyway tough for jobless pilots burdened with heavy education loans and EMIs," he said. "The clause is ambiguous as well. How many minutes or hours of flying should be done to not lose the license isn’t mentioned," he added.

11/10/21 Manju V/Times of India

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