No foreign co-pilots from June 1

May 31st, 2008 - 12:43 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) From June 1, India’s commercial aircraft will not have foreign co-pilots on board. This will open fresh opportunities for thousands of aspiring pilots in the airline industry, said a government official. The development comes in the wake of the government’s decision that Indian airlines should have only Indian co-pilots from June 1. The carriers are also required to discontinue the services of senior foreign pilots, designated as commanders, by July 2010, the official said.

According to official sources, leading private airline Jet Airways received over 900 applications for the 10 posts it had advertised for hiring co-pilots.

According to Kanu Gohain, chief of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, a total of 1,490 foreign pilots were given licences last year to work for the Indian civil aviation sector.

“Despite having a valid commercial pilot licence (CPL), many of the aspiring young Indian pilots have not been able to get through any Indian air carriers,” an airline official told IANS.

Initially, when India did not have an adequate number of well-trained pilots, the carriers hired foreign pilots and co-pilots. However, according to industry sources, now there are many trained Indian pilots waiting in the wings.

The Indian pilots employed with airlines also complain that their promotion avenues suffer as airlines hire many foreign senior pilots.

But now, the airline industry is feeling the pinch. It has to pay a hefty salary to these foreign pilots.

“We have a contractual agreement with these foreign pilots and so they cannot be asked to leave,” a senior DGCA official said.

“We are quite happy that the foreign pilots will soon be replaced by Indian pilots,” he added.

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