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No shortage of commercial pilots in India, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia clarifies

“The number of pilots receiving their Commercial Pilot Licences (CPL) in India is increasing every year; the DGCA issued 862 CPLs in 2021, an all-time high,” Scindia said.

July 28, 2022 / 05:55 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said in Parliament on July 28 that there is no shortage of pilots in India at the moment.

Responding to a question raised by parliamentarian Sunita Duggal on “whether airlines are facing issues to introduce flights due to shortage of commercial pilots in the country on new routes or increase in frequency of existing flights shortage of commercial pilots”, the union minister said: “There is no shortage of pilots in India. There is, however, a marginal shortage of commanders on certain types of aircraft and the same is being managed by utilising foreign pilots by issuing Foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorization (FATA). There were 82 FATA-holders in India as on 30th June 2022, as compared to over 9,000 pilots employed with airlines in India.”

Meanwhile, “the number of pilots receiving their Commercial Pilot Licences (CPL) in India is increasing every year; the DGCA issued 862 CPLs in 2021, an all-time high," he added.

Responding to Duggal’s other questions related to the Indian civil aviation market, Scindia said: “The total number of flying hours at Indian Flying Training Organizations (FTO) increased from 1.20 lakh hours in the pre-COVID year (2019) to 1.62 lakh hours in 2021. The improvement in 2021 is despite severe disruptions due to the COVID-19 second wave, Cyclone Yaas, Cyclone Tauktae, early onset of monsoons and rising cost of imported aviation fuel.”

“The Government-owned FTO -- IGRUA (Amethi, Uttar Pradesh) -- operated at an all-time high of 19,110 flying hours in 2021-22, despite the severe disruptions mentioned above.  In comparison, before COVID-19, it operated 14,830 flying hours in 2019-20 and 14,039 flying hours in 2018-19.; The number of FTOs and the annual production of pilots is likely to increase further.  In 2020, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) came up with a liberalised FTO policy wherein airport royalty payments (revenue share payment by FTOs to AAI) was abolished and land rentals were significantly rationalised.”

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In 2021, after a competitive bidding process, the AAI had awarded nine FTO slots at five airports at Belagavi (Karnataka), Jalgaon (Maharashtra), Kalaburagi (Karnataka), Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh), and Lilabari (Assam). As on 30th June 2022, four of these FTOs - two at Kalaburagi and one each at Jalgaon and Lilabari - have commenced commercial operations.; In June 2022, after a competitive bidding process, six more FTO slots were awarded by AAI at five airports namely: Bhavnagar (Gujarat), Hubballi (Karnataka), Kadapa (Andhra Pradesh), Kishangarh (Rajasthan), and Salem (Tamil Nadu).

Speaking about licenses issued to commercial pilots by the training academy after 2010, the minister said a total of 7,970 licenses have been issued since, including 699 CPLs issued this year till June 30.
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