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How about becoming pilot?

At least 3,000 to 4,000 pilots will be needed in the next two or three years.

india Updated: May 26, 2006 03:06 IST
Nandini R Iyer
Nandini R Iyer

So what if you didn’t make it through all those entrance exams for engineering and medicine? Soar instead to a super-elite career in the skies, which promises 100 per cent employability and a salary that matches an MNC’s.

The aviation boom, the emergence of a whole lot of new airlines and the new carriers which will be functional soon, means that there’s a whole lot of jobs going to be available in the airline industry.

At least 3,000 to 4,000 pilots will be needed in the next two or three years. That, by the way is a conservative estimate. And the pay? “Qualified individuals-- those with a Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL)-- start with a stipend varying between Rs 25,000 and Rs 60,000 for a period of about three months.

Once they’ve spent three months familiarising themselves with the aircraft they will fly and the rules of the airline, they go on to a regular salary. Though salary varies in each airline the lowest starting salary for a fresher is about Rs one lakh per month,” said a civil aviation ministry official.

Air Vice Marshall (Retd) SC Malhan who heads the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udan Academy-- IGRUA is the government’s pilot training institute-- when asked about employment prospects simply replies “100 per cent”.

And if all that weren’t incentive enough to convince you that flying aircraft is a good career option, sample this: Those who are in the business of training pilots say contrary to public perception, pilot training is neither terribly tough nor demanding. “The only exacting criteria is physical fitness and there’s absolutely no compromise there,” says an instructor at IGRUA.

To apply to IGRUA, students need to appear for an entrance examination in July. Forms are available at the IGRUA office in Safdarjung Airport or you can download one from their website: You’re eligible only if you passed physics and maths in class 12. If you clear this exam, you’ll be asked to clear a Class II medical examination (its about the second toughest physical fitness test in India) and then if you’re cleared, you’ll be put through the WOMBAT which is jargon for a computerised test to see if you have the aptitude for flying.

The ab initio course (for those who have only passed class 12 and have no previous flying qualifications) costs around 16.5 lakhs. Add about Rs 3,000 per month for hostel fees, mess fees etc.

First Published: May 26, 2006 03:06 IST