AI to depend on expatriate pilots for next two-three years

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Kochi, Nov 20 (UNI) Stating that pilot shortage was hampering Air India's performance, its CMD V Thulasidas today said the airline will have to depend on expatriate pilots for the next two to three years to tide over the shortage.

''Even if we have to spend more to get pilots from overseas, we will do it. That is the only way out for the next two to three years,'' Mr Thulasidas said at a press conference here.

Hiring of overseas pilots as commanders had become necessary as young pilots getting licences were qualified to fly as co-pilots only. At least five to six years' flying experience was necessary before they could be made commanders, Mr Thulasidas said.

''The growth in the sector is explosive and enough pilots are not available. Even when we recruit expatriates, we cannot get enough of them.'' At the same time, regulatory provisions were becoming stricter by the day, he said.

Apart from shortage of staff, old fleet was another ''drawback'' faced by the airline. However, this was being addressed with the acquisition of 111 new aircraft both for domestic and international operations, he said.

UNI

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