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121 foreign pilots flying high in Indian skies

121 foreign pilots flying high in Indian skies
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This may not be music for the Indian aviation industry but while replying to a question in the Upper House, MoS (Aviation) GM Siddeshwara said there are as many as 277 foreign pilots employed by various airlines in India.

This comes at a time when the country is facing a severe shortage in the number of Indian-trained pilots.

The highest number of foreign pilots (121) is currently working for Jet Airways, followed by Indigo which has employed 45 of them.

As many as 74 expat pilots work with non-scheduled carriers, 14 with Air India, 10 with SpiceJet, 8 with Alliance Air and 5 with Blue Dart, the minister elaborated in Parliament.

He also added that ‘there is a shortage of type rated Commanders (type rated pilots or pilots-in-command) in the country.’ He attributed two reasons for this: ‘due to growth in aviation industry and induction of new aircrafts in the fleet of the airlines.’

Talking about the action plan to make up for this deficiency the minister added: ‘To cover the shortage of type rated pilots, validation of foreign pilots is done as per rule 45 of Aircraft Rules, 1937.

Indian pilots, who are inducted in airlines and are eligible to become pilots in command (PIC) as per the policy of airlines, are being trained by them to phase out expat pilots.’

‘As a follow up, cases of Foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorisation (FATA) pilots are processed on the basis of information furnished by each airline with phase out programme of expat pilots,’ added Siddeshwara.

Asked about the time-frame within which the foreign pilots would be replaced by Indian counterparts, he said: ‘The government has restricted issue of Foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorisation (FATA) up to 31 December, 2016.’

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