New Delhi: In one of the largest-ever pilot recruitment drives, state-run Air India will hire over 500 type-rated pilots on contract basis for the carrier's narrow-body fleet, which is expected to grow to about 80 aircraft by March 2018.
The present strength of the narrow-body fleet is 66. The fresh hiring of 534 Airbus A320 pilots is in line with Air India's aircraft induction plans and aimed at overcoming the shortage which has many times led to cancellation of its flights at the last minute, according to a source.
At present Air India has 1,441 pilots, with 670 of them flying 66 A320 family aircraft. Besides, another 70 pilots are under training. Air India's pilots strength will cross 2,000 by May this year when the recruitment exercise gets completed, the source said.
Type rating is a regulating agencies certification given to a pilot to fly a certain aircraft type that requires additional training, which involves huge cost, beyond the scope of the initial license and aircraft class training.
"The new pilots joining Air India will have to sign a bond and submit bank guarantee totalling Rs one crore, which will be encashed if a pilot decides to quit the airline before the expiry of his contract," the source said.
As many as 173 Air India pilots have resigned from the national carrier since 2012, with the maximum being those operating the narrow body Airbus A320 family aircraft, government had said in Parliament recently.
At present, the cost of training a pilot for an Airbus family of planes stands at Rs 4.01 lakh per pilot while the type rating cost per pilot comes to nearly Rs 23 lakh.