There is a shortage of pilots at about 30 percent, or 240 pilots, in a year
With deliveries underway of as many as 1,000 planes that have been ordered until 2030, Indian carriers are looking at shortage of pilots, reports The Economic Times.
These carriers will need as many as 1,000 pilots to fly the new aircraft and the requirement is likely to rise upto 10,000 in a decade.
Break-up for pilot requirement
There is a requirement for 800 to 1,000 first officers and commanders. However, commanders or captains are in short supply.
“Indian carriers require over 800 commanders over the next one year,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of Sydney-based consultant CAPA Centre for Aviation.
According to Kaul, the shortage is at about 30 percent, or 240 pilots, in a year.
Why is there a shortage?
While there is no dearth of first officers who can be trained to become captains, many Indian carriers haven’t hired enough to meet the demand for commanders.
Another reason is that India does not have many homegrown commanders. On the other hand, the government is discouraging the hiring of expatriates.
“Compared to the steep growth of the Indian airline industry, there is no natural influx of homegrown pilots, especially commanders in India. We have to depend on expatriates,” Cornelis Vrieswijk, CEO of no-frills carrier Go-Air, said in a recent interview.
He added that the red tape and stringent regulatory procedures associated with getting an expatriate pilot ready to fly adds to the problem.
“The DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) still uses several medical requisites laid down by the Indian Air Force for pilots, which makes it difficult for many expatriates,” said a senior pilot at a low-fare carrier.The scenario is more intense for regional carriers. “There is scarcity of commanders for startup airlines. But for us, even finding first officers is a problem. A pilot would rather fly IndiGo's ATR than mine as he knows he will be upgraded soon to an Airbus A320,” said V Umesh, MD of south Indian regional carrier Trujet.