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AAI proposes airfields to be turned into pilot academies…

The burgeoning demand for pilots in both India and overseas might meet a solution with the newly initiated plan by the New Delhi government. Airfields belonging to the staterun Airports Authority of India (AAI), including non-operational ones, will be turned into pilot academies. India’s pilot shortage has to lead to great disadvantages to the country’s fast-expanding carries resulting in hiring foreign pilots to even cancelling flights at the time. 

A top government official  who sought anonymity says

“the aviation ministry’s view is that the country has human capital and the plan is to produce enough pilots so that we are able to meet not just India’s demand but also become a pilot supplier to the world,” 

The counties needs are not being met by the current capacity,  he said. The requirements of 800 pilots a year is being filled by only 300 pilots trained at 32 institutes. After the Jet Airways stopped flying recently, the pilots easily found jobs in other carriers once again proving just how big the demand is.  

The plan is to activate and bring into use as many airports – both non-operational and remotely used-as as much as possible. “There could be various airports or airstrips that could be used for pilot training,” said another official. Like AAI, which manages 126 airports, which has about 50 such fields. 


with the approval of the AAI board, they have created a proposal and formed a three-member panel headed by former Indian Air Force chief Fali H Major to decide on the number of airports that can be offered to pilot schools.

Air Force chief Fali H Major is an independent member of the AAI board. The others on the committee, who are to submit its report in three months, are Vineet Gulati, AAI’s member (air navigation services), and Anil Gill, deputy director, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

although this brings up great opportunities for the aviation industry and the country, experts believe the government’s plan will need to be augmented by other measures. 

“There are things like weather, visibility and Air Traffic Control factors that should be taken into account while deciding on the airports that will be shortlisted for flying institutes,” said Shakti Lumba, a former pilot who used to head operations at Air India and IndiGo. “Flying training in India is more expensive than many other countries, and one of the reasons is taxation on fuel for trainer aircraft,” he said. “The government will also have to look at the option of providing subsidies to make this scheme a success.”

India’s demand for pilots and specifically commanders is increasing as airlines expand aggressively.

According to estimates, the Airlines in the country will require 17,000 pilots as opposed to the 8000 pilots the country has. There is also a global demand from carriers in China and the Middle East. 

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