India needs more pilots, says aviation minister

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India needs more pilots, says aviation minister

According to the data from the Directorate General Civil Aviation DGCA, there are nearly 10,000 pilots, including 67 foreign nationals, who are currently employed with various scheduled and non-scheduled Indian carriers. 15 per cent or 1,500 are women pilots, which is three times the global average of 5 per cent, said Minister of State for Civil Aviation Gen Retd VK Singh in the lower house Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Regional airline Alliance Air has the highest number of foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorization FATA holders or expatriate pilots among major Indian carriers, at 15, according to regional airline Alliance Air.

IndiGo, India's largest carrier by market share and fleet size, has only four FATA holders. The full-service carrier Vistara, which is going to be merged with national flag carrier Air India, has a FATA holder.

The world's fastest-growing aviation market would need 1,000 pilots annually over the next five years, according to industry projections. The minister said that the forecast would be dependent on a number of factors such as the financial health of an airline, airlines expansion plans and growth in the aviation sector.

The minister said that 244 pilots had been recruited by various Indian scheduled airlines in the year 2021.

There are currently 35 flying training organisations FTOs or flying schools in the country.

With a total of 1,677 aircraft on order by the various Indian carriers over the next ten years, the country needs to ramp up training in areas such as inflight and engineering.

Air India CEO Campbell Wilson said that the national flag carrier would need to hire expat pilots for its Boeing 777 fleet, though he clarified that their numbers would be minimal at the recently concluded CAPA India Aviation summit in New Delhi.

Air India had a surprise for the global aviation industry by placing an order for 470 narrow and widebody aircraft on February 14.