Expat pilots number comes down to 340 from 526 last year

340 expat pilots are still employed with various airlines in the country of which largest number is with Jet Airways, Lok Sabha was informed today.

"Total number of foreign pilots employed with various airlines has come down from 526 last year to 340 present, of which 93 are employed with Jet Airways. 63 are employed with SpiceJet, 56 with Indigo, 21 with Air India, nine with Alliance Air -- a subsidiary of Air India, eight with Blue Dart and 90 with non scheduled operators," K C Venugopal, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, said.

He said there is shortage of type-rated Commanders in the country due to growth in aviation industry and induction of new aircraft in the fleet of the airlines.

"However, adequate number of co-pilots were available and employed with the airlines. These co-pilots do not possess sufficient training and experience as required to become commander on that type of aircraft," he said in reply to a written question in the Lok Sabha.

The government has allowed issue of Foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorisation to hire expat pilots till December 31, 2013, he added.

In reply to a separate question, Venugopal said his ministry has not received any formal proposal from the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) and Kerala Government for starting 'Air Kerala'.

The government of Kerala has informed that CIAL had worked out a project for starting Air Kerala airline as its subsidiary. It has also been informed that proposed airlines requires two exemptions for operationalisation: exemption from condition of ownership of 20 aircraft and exemption from condition of five years experience of domestic flying, he said.

While replying to separate question on number of daily flights being operated from major metros, he said Delhi airport handles around 779 flights daily while Mumbai 665, Chennai 322, Bangalore 285, Kolkata 263, Hyderabad 250, Ahmedabad 105.

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