Jobless pilots in the country have a reason to cheer. After the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) directive to replace foreign pilots with their Indian counterparts by July 31 2010, commercial pilot licence (CPL) holders will be in demand.
At present, there are around 1,000 foreign pilots working for different airlines in India. Also Air India is on a hiring spree. “This year, we plan to hire 30-40 pilots every three months and to induct 30 new aircraft (including the replacements) during the fiscal 2009-2010,” said Jeetendra Bhargava, executive director, corporate communications, Air India.
Pratiksha Prasad, a jobless pilot with a licence from a Canadian flying school, is hopeful. “With openings in Air India and DGCA’s favourable directive, it seems that most of the foreign- trained Indian pilots will now manage to get jobs,” she said.
The directive has also favoured flying schools. Acumen School of Pilot Training (ASPT) claims the number of applications in past two months have gone up. “In past two months, we have got more than 45 applications,” said Chandni Chawla, ASPT’s business head. Even the flying schools abroad are also chasing in on this. Recently, Pacific Aviation Academy from British Columbia held a workshop in the Capital and received a huge response. “Majority of the students in our academy are from India. At present it might seem bad, but soon things will improve,” says J Mandair, CEO, Pacific Aviation Academy, Vancouver.
But DGCA has a word of caution. Charan Das, Deputy Director General, DGCA, said: “One shouldn’t expect a big turnaround unless airline companies get in the expansion mode, which is not happening as of now.”