Wednesday, March 21, 2007

India needs 5,000 pilots in 5 years

The Indian aviation industry is besieged with a crippling problem of acute shortage of pilots which could jeopardise its multi-million dollar expansion programmes.

"The total number of additional aircraft in the next five years is estimated at 500, for which an additional 5,000 pilots would be required," Aviation Ministry sources said in New Delhi.

Currently, 2,940 pilots are employed as against the requirement of 3,160 pilots, leaving a shortfall of around seven per cent, they added.

They pointed out that though Indian airlines has no shortage of pilots, Air-India has a shortfall of 118 pilots, which galvanised the government to conditionally increase the maximum age of the pilots from 58 to 65.

To increase the number of pilots, the government was planning to hike seats in the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uraan Academy to 100 from the present 40, sources said.

Besides, the government was finalising plans to set up a world-class training academy at Gondia in Maharashtra while permitting Air-India to recruit graduates in science and engineering as cadet pilots.

There are 791 trainee pilots working with India's various airlines, such as Air- India, which has 690 pilots, including those on contract, they added. PTI