Pilots to get their wings in India

By Sanjeeb Kuamr Sahoo

India may get eight new flying academies across locations in the country in next year to meet the increasing requirement for pilots. In fact, recent report said that India needs 1,000 pilots annually to meet its traffic growth.

Also, to prevent aspiring pilots from having to receive training abroad, Flying Training Organisations (FTOs) are being set up across Karnataka, Maharashtra, MP and Assam. The government wants to ensure that these academies will be at par with top FTOs from across the world in terms of fleet, infrastructure and instructors.

New pilot training schools will come up at the Airports Authority of India (AAI)-run airports at Belagavi, Jalgaon in Maharashtra, Belagavi and Kalaburagi in Karnataka, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, and Lilabari in Assam. The award letters to training schools were issued on May 31 to aviation firms. The minimum annual rent reduced to Rs 15 lakh and royalty payable to AAI scrapped to make the schools viable. These schools are being set up under the liberalised FTO policy of the AAI.

Public sector AAI had invited bids for opening the flying schools in November 2020. The award letters were issued to winning bidders namely Asia-Pacific, Jetserve, Redbird, Samvardhane and Skynex.

Today, only 200-300 pilots are being trained each year in the country, thereby not only leading to a shortage of type-rated commanders but also increasing dependence on foreign pilots.
Recently, Boeing’s 2021 Pilot and Technician Outlook (PTO) forecasts that the Asia Pacific region will require nearly 820,000 new aviation personnel, including more than 230,000 pilots and nearly 250,000 technicians and 340,000 cabin crew members.

On the other hand, American aerospace company Boeing estimates that air travel within Asia Pacific markets will account for nearly half of global air traffic by 2040, driving 20-year demand for 17,645 new airplanes valued at $3.1 trillion. To support its commercial aviation industry, Asia-Pacific countries also will require aftermarket services valued at $3.7 trillion.

Indian origin international airline Jet Airways is reportedly in talks with airplane makers Boeing and Airbus SE to place an order worth $12 billion. The Jalan-Kalrock consortium is set to invest about $200 million through equity and debt in Jet Airways over the next six months. The news comes a month after Akasa Air, the budget domestic carrier backed by billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, placed a $9 billion order for 72 Boeing 737 MAX jets.

The article was published on 5th December Print Edition, 2021

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