Indian civil aviation sector may need 5,000 pilots in five years: Praful Patel

New Delhi: The civil aviation sector may have a requirement for almost five thousand pilots over the next five years, according to civil aviation minister, Praful Patel. This phenomenal need has forced the aviation sector to rely on foreign pilots, whose current strength stands at 944, the minister said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
 
"On the basis of the estimated growth, their may a requirement of about 5,000 pilots in the country in the next five years," the minister said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
In his reply the minister said that the country was facing a shortage of type rated pilots.

In order to bridge the gap between the demand and availability, 944 foreign pilots have been engaged by airlines, the minister said.

According to Patel, major carriers, including Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and Air India had deployed 275, 107 and 63 foreign pilots respectively.

According to data, some airlines, such as Air India Express, Paramount Airways and Blue Dart had more foreign pilots on their rosters than Indian, the minister said.

While Air India Express had 79 foreign pilots against 44 Indian, Paramount Airways had 11 against three Indian. Cargo carrier Blue Dart had 10 foreign pilots and six Indian.
Low-cost carrier, Indigo, just about reversed the order with 84 foreign and 88 Indian pilots.

Patel said the government had decided to establish a flying training institute at Gondia, Maharashtra in order to bridge the gap between demand and domestic supply of pilots.

The Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udan Akademi would be upgraded to enhance its intake to 100 students per year, from the current 40 students a year, he added.

The following is the break up of Indian and foreign pilots with various airlines, as on 1st January 2008:

Airlines
Indian Pilots
Foreign Pilots
Indigo
88
84
Paramount Airways
03
11
Blue Dart
06
10
Spice Jet
152
53
Air Deccan
324
141
Alliance Air
65
40
Go Air
52
14
Kingfisher Airlines
419
110
Jet Airways
799
276
Jet Lite
230
13
Air India
622
66
Air India Express
44
79