Pilot shortage troubles Indian aviation sector

Government extends permission for foreign pilots


August 1, 2018

/ By / New Delhi

Rate this post


Following a shortage of pilots in the country, the government has extended the deadline for expat pilots to work in India. But with an increasing fleet of planes and a booming aviation market, there will be a big requirement of commanders to be met.

There are 290 expat pilots out of the total 7,000 pilots with domestic airlines in India, who can now continue to work in the country up till December 31, 2020 as against their phasing out at the end of this year. The government decision comes after the insufficient number of pilots, especially commanders (captains), was reported in the Indian aviation sector.

“At present, scheduled Indian airlines have over 7,000 pilots for their combined fleet of over 600 planes. This year itself the shortage is of over 250 pilots. Given the order books of our airlines, 1,100 aircraft are supposed to join in seven-eight years that will require over 10,000 additional pilots,” the press quoted Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of Sydney-based consultant CAPA Centre for Aviation.

The press also mentioned that these numbers are only for scheduled airlines with the pilot requirement for charters, regional connectivity players, and private jets being separate.

It is also being anticipated that the numbers are just a conservative estimate and the requirement will increase even more with the increasing number of Indian carriers and their wide body operations. Presently, only Jet Airways and Air India have twin-aisle operations.

Indian airline Vistara has placed an order for six-ten wide body aircrafts, which will add to the number.

Not ready to take the load

Reportedly, the shortage of pilots will also increase by 2030 if the deliveries of as many as 1,000 planes that have been ordered  are made.

As per reports airlines such as IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, GoAir, Vistara and AirAsia are set to get a combined 100 new planes between now and March 2019, making a requirement of 800 to 1,000 pilots–first officers and commanders. India particularly has a shortage of commanders or the captains.

“Indian airlines require over 800 commanders over the next one year,” said Kaul. He sees the shortage at about 30 pc or 240 pilots in 12 months.

When compared to the commanders, India has a good number of first officers, who are being trained by the airlines to become commanders. However, many airlines haven’t hired enough first officers, mounting the work load on commanders.

India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world, but a pilot shortage can likely hit the growth, say experts.



    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *