National carrier Air India (AI) may face a major shortage of pilots next year.
According to an internal analysis done by the airline, AI would need about 260 pilots by October 2015.
The airline would need about 185 co-pilots for its Airbus A320 fleet and about 75 pilots for its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet by 2015 winter schedule, the analysis said.
“There will be a need to hire co-pilots very soon,” a senior AI official said.
The state-owned airline has already transferred about 50 Boeing 777 (B777) pilots to its low-cost international arm — Air India Express.
Air India Express has a fleet of Boeing 737 (B737) aircraft and conversion of pilots from B777 to B737 can be done easily.
“Moving B777 pilots to B737 is a good move. B777 co-pilots, who should have become captains long back, will get command on B737 aircraft,” said Rajji Rai, an aviation industry veteran.
However, when contacted, an AI spokesperson said the airline had enough pilots and there was no question of any shortage in the near future.
“We have about 1,600 pilots and there is no shortage in either narrow or wide-body fleets. As far as the Boeing 787 is concerned, we have a training programme so that adequate pilots are available as new planes join the fleet,” he said.