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First in India! Air India to start its own flying school to train pilots; details here

Air India is establishing a flying school in Amravati, Maharashtra, to address an anticipated shortage of pilots. The academy will have the capacity to train up to 180 pilots annually, providing aspiring pilots with no prior flying experience a direct path to Air India’s cockpit upon completion of subsequent training stages.
Air India has selected approximately 30 single-engine and four multi-engine aircraft from Piper, an American company, and Diamond, a European manufacturer, for its training fleet, according to an ET report.
The Indian government is actively encouraging the promotion of commercial pilot training within the country, as over 40% of students currently seek training abroad, which can cost as much as Rs 1.5-2 crore.
According to an informed source, “Air India wants to be in control of the supply of the next generation of pilots which. The school will be a critical part of the national carrier’s long-term talent pipeline. Second is the airline wants to ensure quality of training. The quality of training in flying schools in India leaves a lot of gap forcing students to go abroad.”

Air India: Taking Control

Air India: Taking Control

This approach marks a significant departure from the traditional training strategies employed by major Indian airlines such as IndiGo and SpiceJet, which have previously partnered with independent flight schools in India and abroad to establish branded training programs. For example, IndiGo has collaborations with seven flight schools.
With the Tata Group‘s acquisition of Air India, the airline has placed an order for 470 aircraft, and CEO Campbell Wilsons has stated that they will introduce one new aircraft every six days in 2024.
The Tata group’s newly established school will initially focus on fulfilling internal needs, but the company sees potential in serving external requirements in the future.
In collaboration with Airbus and L3 Harris from the US, the airline has established its own training facility in Gurgaon, which is equipped with six simulators to offer type-rated and recurrent training to its pilots.
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Aviation training regulations mandate that aspiring pilots first complete ab initio training to acquire a licence. Type-rated training is necessary to operate a specific aircraft type, such as the Airbus A320 or Boeing 737, and obtain the required licence endorsements. To maintain these endorsements, pilots must undergo recurrent training every year.
Sunil Bhaskaran, a Tata group veteran and former CEO of AirAsia India, currently serves as the managing director of Air India Aviation Academy and is overseeing the development of the airline’s training infrastructure.
The substantial aircraft orders placed by Indian airlines will lead to an increased demand for flight simulation centres as airlines rush to train their pilots. IndiGo, Air India, and Akasa have collectively ordered approximately 1,250 aircraft for delivery over the next ten years.
“The shortages of trained resources is far more serious than currently estimated or visible for Indian airlines and poaching by Middle Eastern carriers is likely to accentuate the labour shortage issue,” Kapil Kaul, CEO at CAPA India said.

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