Air India hunting for pilots overseas

Air India, which is acquiring 68 Boeing aircraft for $11 billion, is on a major pilot-sourcing drive, as the state-run airline is enhancing existing services, apart from starting new ones.
The national flag carrier has already sourced 20 pilots from Belgrade-based Jat Airways Training Centre, and 18 more will join shortly.
Air India, which has a fleet of 48 aircraft, will require 100 pilots every year for the next seven years.
To meet the growing pilots requirements, Air India has shortlisted four international flight training institutes. Besides Jat Airways, the airline has shortlisted a US-based and a New Zealand-based training institutes to train fresh engineering graduates in twin-engine jets.
Recently, the PSU carrier had decided to recruit fresh graduates from the science and engineering disciplines in the wake of a severe shortage of pilots. The airline will sign a bond with these graduates, who will be trained at Air India’s cost.
“Over 2,000 graduates appeared for the examination conducted by Air India for pilot-training,” Air India executives said. Air India requires over 3,500 pilots in the next three years with domestic airlines acquiring more than 300 aircraft.
Industry analysts said Air India would have to scout for multiple avenues for sourcing pilots as the capacity of the state-run Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA) has reached saturation.
17/02/07 PR Sanjai/Business Standard

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