• Indian carriers struggle to find talent inside cockpit

    Arav Joshi, 26, completed his flying course from New Zealand-based training academy in 2012. After that did not translate into a job, he topped it with a type rating course from a Pune-based facility in 2014. The total expenditure came to around Rs 50 lakhs. He is still without a job.

    He is part of the 7,000 odd who despite holding a commercial pilots license (CPL) is awaiting a job. Despite available manpower, Indian carriers are finding it difficult to find suitable people as they are hesitant to recruit fresher to man their cockpit.

    National carrier Air India in July advertised to recruit 415 pilots for manning its Airbus A320 aircraft. The airline has a requirement of more than 500 pilots as it plans to expand its fleet rapidly. But the hiring plan has gone awry with the airline now struggling to find suitable candidates.

    Other private airlines are looking to expat pilots even though the cost of hiring an expat is significantly higher for an airline.

    Air Asia India- the joint venture between the Tata Sons and Tony Fernandes-owned Air Asia Bhd is looking to hire at least 30 expat pilots as it looks at fleet expansion following fund infusion from the promoters. Sources, say that despite multiple rounds of roadshows conducted across cities, the airline failed to find enough local pilots. An AirAsia spokesperson declined to comment.

    Jet Airways, sources say is looking to hire around 30 type-rated foreigners to fly its Boeing 737 planes.

    Having an expat on board is a financial burden for an airline. “The salaries of the expats are higher, the airline has to provide them accommodation and also bear expense for his journey to his home country,” a pilot with a domestic carrier said.

    In addition to that there are several safety approvals required which takes around six months. “Effectively during that period, you have to pay them without flying,” the pilot said.
    “While there are thousands of CPL holders in the country, getting type rated Indian pilots becomes difficult, you have to give them additional training, no airlines want to recruit simple CPL holders and bear that cost,” an executive of a private airline said. Brian Leetch Authentic Jersey

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