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Expat pilots get breather, to fly in India till 2018

By Arindam Majumder
Last updated on: February 25, 2016 12:22 IST
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Civil aviation ministry accepts demand to extend deadline from December 2016

The civil aviation ministry has accepted a demand to extend the deadline to phase out expat pilots by December 2016, providing relief to companies that are planning to expand their fleet substantially.

The decision comes after the Director General of Civil Aviation sent a letter to the ministry asking for the extension, based on a request from airlines.

“The ministry has decided to extend it as airlines are expanding rapidly and need commanders," a senior ministry official said. “The deadline is  to be extended by two years to December 2018,” he added.

Leading domestic player IndiGo plans to induct 430 A320 neos, the delivery of which has been delayed by Airbus because of operational issues.

Go Air has ordered 72 A320 neos. Spice Jet chairman Ajay Singh said the airline was in negotiation with both Boeing and Airbus for an order of 150 planes by the end of this financial year.

DGCA issues Foreign Aircrew temporary Authorisation licence after scrutinising documents.

This data is sent to the home ministry and Intelligence Bureau and narcotics department.

According to data provided to the Lok Sabha by Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma, 284 foreign pilots were employed by domestic companies at the end of September. 

IndiGo has the highest at 94, followed by Jet Airways at 84, Air Costa at 14. State-run carrier Air India had no foreign pilots on its roll.

This is not the first time the ministry has extended the deadline. In July 2010 it had deferred the deadline to 2013, then to December 2016.

“The problem with our country is there is a shortage of type-rated pilots with airlines inducting new planes. Indian pilots are trained enough to become co-pilots but not commanders,” the official said.

To become a type-rated pilot, a person has to take additional training.

Image: DGCA New Delhi headquarters. Photograph: Ashish Bhatnagar/Wikimedia Commons

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Arindam Majumder in New Delhi
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