Air India inducts first lot of pilots trained in-house

New Delhi: Faced with a massive human resource crunch, merged carrier Air India would be pleased about the induction of 44 new pilots into its ranks. Trained at its own academy, the fresh inductees increase the number of pilots in the flag carrier's ranks to 1,244.

Air India spokesman, Jitendra Bhargava, said, ''The induction of these new pilots in the airline will create a new line of co-pilots and these pilots after successfully flying for 2,000 hours would be eligible for commanding an aircraft. Simultaneously we will also train fresh pilots and have a batch of fresh co-pilots ready."

The new pilots were inducted after clearing tests conducted by the Central Training Establishment, Air India's in-house training establishment.

Like other carriers, Air India too is facing the effects of the prevailing drought of pilots in the aviation industry. In an attempt to alleviate the problem carriers were allowed to hire foreign pilots, as well as pilots above the age of 60 who were medically fit.

According to industry estimates, of the 3,000 pilots in India around 600 are of foreign origin. It is estimated that India may require as many as 10,000 pilots by 2020 as the sector grows in size and carriers scale up capacities.