IATA warns of pilot shortage globally | india | Hindustan Times
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IATA warns of pilot shortage globally

The International Air Transport Association favours changes in training and qualification practices to churn out more pilots every year, reports Lalatendu Mishra.

india Updated: Nov 30, 2007 22:17 IST
Lalatendu Mishra

The Indian commercial aviation sector is not the only one facing severe shortage of pilots, the global airlines industry is now being plagued by this. So if you are harbouring the ambition to become a commercial pilot, no other time is much better than this.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the apex body of all leading airlines of the world, has warned airlines of a severe pilot shortage unless a consorted effort is made to change training and qualification practices to churn out more pilots every year.

While the Indian civil aviation sector would be needing another 4,500 pilots in the next five years, according to IATA’s new estimates the global airline industry would 17,000 new pilots annually due to expected industry growth and retirements.

Increasing retirement age of pilots to 65 may help but it can't be the only solution according IATA.

“It's time to ring the warning bell. We must re-think pilot training and qualification to further improve safety and increase training capacity,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA Director General and CEO. He told the FAA International Safety Forum that industry is concerned because “There are no global standards for training concepts or regulation. Pilot training has not changed in 60 years -- we are still ticking boxes with an emphasis on flight hours,” he said.

IATA supports the competency-based approach of multi-crew pilot licensing (MPL) training programmes. Unlike traditional pilot training, MPL focuses from the beginning on training for multi-pilot cockpit working conditions. It also makes better use of simulator technology. Europe was among the first regions to adopt MPL and Australia and China are moving ahead with implementation. In China, IATA is working with the government to develop the syllabus and incorporate MPL into national regulation. Whether this would be applicable in India is yet to be known.