Air India to hire over 500 type-rated pilots on contract basis

GN Bureau | January 11, 2016


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Air India will hire over 500 type-rated pilots on contract basis for the carrier’s narrow-body fleet, which is expected to grow to about 80 aircraft by March 2018. This will be one of the largest-ever pilot recruitment drives undertaken by an airline.

Type rating is a regulating agencies certification given to a pilot to fly a certain aircraft type that requires additional training, which involves huge cost, beyond the scope of the initial license and aircraft class training.

At present, the cost of training a pilot for an Airbus family of planes stands at Rs 4.01 lakh per pilot while the type rating cost per pilot comes to nearly Rs 23 lakh.

At present Air India has 1,441 pilots, with 670 of them flying 66 A320 family aircraft. Besides, another 70 pilots are under training.

Air India’s pilots’ strength will cross 2,000 by May this year when the recruitment exercise gets completed, the source said.

The present strength of the narrow-body fleet is 66.

The fresh hiring of 534 Airbus A320 pilots is in line with Air India’s aircraft induction plans and aimed at overcoming the shortage which has many times led to cancellation of its flights at the last minute, according to a source.

The national carrier has added 66 A320 family aircraft in its fleet besides Boeing planes. It has already tied up with a Kuwaiti aircraft lessor to lease 14 A320neos, which are to be delivered by March 2017.

In addition to this, Air India would soon float tenders for leasing of 15 A320s to augment capacity.

Air India has tweaked hiring norms after a number of pilots quit the carrier and moved to private airlines after acquiring high high-cost type-rated training at its expenses.

As many as 173 Air India pilots have resigned from the national carrier since 2012, with the maximum being those operating the narrow body Airbus A320 family aircraft.

Of these, 72 pilots operating the narrow-body Airbus A320 family fleet have resigned, while 38 pilots each of Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing 777, eight of Boeing 747 and 17 of Boeing 737 fleet have quit between 2012 and October this year, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had said during the Winter session of Parliament.

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