Does India have a shortage of pilots? The answer to this question always stays in the grey area. It troubles the students who are looking forward to starting their career in aviation since no clear information is available. Often flying training institutes make big promises about job availability and yet many commercial pilot license holders are unemployed.
Commercial Pilot Licenses (CPL) holders in India are increasing in India with every passing year. As per reports, 862 CPL holders have been released in 2021 which has been claimed to be an all-time high. Scindia pointed this out in response to a question on if the airlines are facing issues in introducing flights due to a shortage of commercial pilots. However, Union Minister mentioned that airlines were facing a shortage in the number of commanders and this is being utilized with the help of foreign pilots through the issue of Foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorization (FATA).
As per reports, India had 82 FATA holders, and 9000 commercial pilots on the other hand. The flying hours of the pilots at the Indian Flying Training Organizations (FTO) increased by 1.20 lakh in 2019 to 1.62 hours in 2021. The year, 2021 caused several disruptions despite which the aviation industry witnessed an overall improvement where IGRUA (Amethi, Uttar Pradesh), the government-owned FTO operated at an all-time high of 19110 hours
After a competitive bidding process in 2021, FTO was awarded nine bidding slots at five airports out of which four of the FTOs Kalaburagi, Jalgaon, and Lilabari commenced their operations. Furthermore, the competitive bidding process helped to earn higher slots from AAI and this time it was six slots. In regard to the number of licenses issued after 2010, it was seen that 7970 licenses were issued which included 699 CPL holders.
At present, it can be concluded that there is no shortage of new pilots in the Indian aviation industry. The current shortage is restricted to the availability of Captains and higher-rank pilots. But the conditions might change in the coming future subject to the growth of the aviation sector in India.