India has a total of 404 foreign pilots working in the country, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in Rajya Sabha. Among the 404 foreign pilots, IndiGo employs 199 of them.
There is a shortage of type rated commanders/pilot-in-command due to growth in the aviation sector and induction of new type of aircraft in the fleet of Indian airline operators, Puri said in his written response to a question in Rajya Sabha.
GoAir employs 65 foreign pilots, while Alliance Air has 61 of them. SpiceJet has 35 foreign pilots as of 10 June 2019.
All the scheduled and non-scheduled airlines have been advised to develop their strength to reduce the dependency on foreign pilots, the minister said.
Recently, IndiGo has signed a deal with the New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy (NZICPA) to train pilots. Under the airline’s flagship cadet’s pilot program, the selected students will begin training in Wanganui in January 2020. After training in New Zealand, the cadets will return to India for flight license conversion of the New Zealand Commercial Pilot License and then proceed for Airbus A320 type rating training, before beginning line-training with IndiGo.
The Indian license conversion part of the training will be conducted in partnership with Flightrule Aviation Services, a Delhi-based aviation training company.
The training is said to be the first of its kind that will run under a transparent fixed cost and fixed duration and maintains a student-instructor ratio of 5:1.
IndiGo has 49% of the domestic market, and SpiceJet has 14.8% share in May 2019.