Pi­lot Scarcity is Acute!

In the back­drop of “Where is He?” SP’s Avi­a­tion in­ter­viewed Colonel San­jay Julka (Retd) to find out the sever­ity of this prob­lem and the pos­si­ble so­lu­tions. He was can­did in his replies, “To ad­dress pi­lot scarcity in In­dia, we need to re­vamp all reg­u­la­tio

SP's Aviation - - TABLE OF CONTENTS -

SP’s Avi­a­tion (SP’s): Is the pi­lot scarcity more with busi­ness avi­a­tion (BA) and gen­eral avi­a­tion (GA) and less with the com­mer­cial air­lines (sched­uled op­er­a­tors)? Can you elab­o­rate on this?

Colonel San­jay Julka (Julka): Yes, scarcity is more in GA/BA be­cause sched­uled air­lines have big­ger planes and there­fore is a pre­ferred place. Also, the younger gen­er­a­tion want to join air­lines to pick up hours as air­lines pi­lots fly at an av­er­age 125 hours, com­pared to 30 hours in GA/BA.

SP’s: What are the fac­tors con­tribut­ing to this kind of scarcity?

Julka: Growth in num­ber of air­craft not sup­ported by growth in num­ber of pi­lots. Reg­u­la­tions archiac in na­ture and there­fore train­ing takes longer than nor­mal. Bureau­cratic de­lays in get­ting clear­ances. Reg­u­la­tory and tax struc­ture does not sup­port open­ing up of ground or air train­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions in In­dia. SP’s: Can you in­di­cate on as to how old the rule is, which forces the op­er­a­tors to opt for a pi­lot with 100 fly­ing hours. Which in turn com­pli­cates the us­age of a se­cond type or a third type of air­craft but part of the fleet of the same op­er­at­ing com­pany? Why is this con­tin­u­ing while as you say that there is no such re­stric­tion in the other coun­tries?

Julka: The 100-hour rule is not fol­lowed by any coun­try. I sup­pose it’s as old as the ad­vent of sim­u­la­tors but this would need clarification. SP’s: Even if we get a cream (top-end in terms of ex­pe­ri­ence and en­durance) out of for­eign pi­lots’ fra­ter­nity, there are a few as­so­ci­ated is­sues apart from the lan­guage-based is­sues? Can you elab­o­rate them a lit­tle?

Julka: Ac­cent of ATC per­son­nel and for­eign pi­lots. SP’s: Isn’t there any tech­no­log­i­cal so­lu­tion to lan­guage­based is­sues as­so­ci­ated with a for­eign pi­lot? Julka: Yes, prac­tice.

SP’s: Is the at­tri­tion rate of pi­lots high with non-sched­uled op­er­a­tors/BA & GA? If so, why?

Julka: It is the same as I said in the be­gin­ning.

SP’s: In your view, how would one com­pare the for­eign pi­lots ver­sus Indian pi­lots specif­i­cally in terms of se­cu­rity and safety?

Julka: My views are en­dorsed by many. Indian pi­lots, in gen­eral, are rel­a­tively safer than for­eign pi­lots mainly from ‘ sit­u­a­tional aware­ness’ point of view.

SP’s: What all so­lu­tions would you like to list down to ad­dress pi­lots’ con­cerns/scarcity?

Julka: Re­vamp all reg­u­la­tions and bring them at par with world stan­dard prac­tices. In­volve and en­cour­age pri­vate play­ers to open train­ing schools and acad­e­mies. Lib­er­alise tax poli­cies on train­ing in­fras­truc­ture and equip­ment im­port.



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