Country short of about 900 pilots

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New Delhi, Oct 21 (UNI) The country is short of about 900 pilots, particularly in the commander category, the Rajya Sabha was told today.

In a written reply to the House, Minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel said the Government was taking various steps to cope with the problem and had decided to establish a world class flying training institute at Gondia in Maharashtra.

However, no pilots were being sent abroad for training as the country has quality flying training schools to train pilots.

Facilities and training infrastructure at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udan Akademi have been upgraded and modernised to enhance its training capacity and to make it a world institute, he said.

Airports: Replying to other questions relating to his Ministry, Mr Patel said the Airports Authority of India(AAI) had plans to carry out feasibility study of non-operational airports in the country to decongest major airports.

He also said a Group of Ministers was examining the proposal to separate air navigation functions from the overall airport management as recommended by the Naresh Chandra and Roy Paul panels.

As per the available information, only 30 countries across the world have separate ANS functions, independent of the airport operator.

Mr Patel said the AAI had engaged the services of M/S KPMG to undertake a study/analysis of options for corporatisation of air navigation services. Their report has been submitted to AAI.

UNI NAZ BDP CS1330

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