Government requests domestic airlines to absorb Indians as co-pilots

New Delhi: Faced with the situation of a sudden glut of Indian pilots, the government may have requested domestic carriers to opt for them as co-pilots in preference to foreign ones, according to reports.

The request may have been made at a meeting of aviation ministry and airline officials here.
The government faces a predicament as airlines are now receiving anywhere between 20 to 40 applications for each available position. Freshly trained Indian pilots have pointed out to the government that they have undergone huge costs to train themselves and those positions, such as of the co-pilot, ought to be reserved for them.

According to reports, the government may be paying heed to this argument by asking domestic carriers to opt for Indian candidates. The government argues that it is understandable that airlines opt for trained commanders/captains as the country still faced a shortage of trained Indians for these posts. But the situation had changed as far as co-pilots were concerned, and so airlines need to opt for home candidates.

According to current figures, India has 944 foreign pilots - 810 commanders and 134 co-pilots.

The government request may put airlines in a quandary as taking on a fresh Indian co-pilot would mean that airlines will have to get the pilot type-rated for the aircraft they will have to operate. This would entail sending Indian commercial pilot licence holders abroad for training on the simulator of planes such as the A320 or Boeing737.

This process not only takes a few months but also costs anywhere up to Rs7 lakh.