DGCA’s New notice period for airline commanders may hit the expansion plans of the domestic carriers, local media ‘live mint’ reported.
The new rules, put in place by the aviation regulator last week, make it mandatory for commanding pilots to serve at least one year notice period if they want to quit and join another airline. Before this, a six-months notice period was suffice for this purpose.
The norms are also facing opposition from some airline unions. “This decision (of extending the notice period to one year) will impact expansion, forward planning and increase costs. All the start-up airlines, including possible strategic investors considering entry due to the 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) rule, will be significantly impacted,” CAPA’s South Asia head Kapil Kaul said.
According to the government, domestic scheduled carriers are likely to induct over 384 aircraft in their fleet by March 2020. Currently, the combined fleet of these carriers stands at 490. These airlines will require a good number of pilots – both junior and senior (commanders) pilots – to operate these many planes. While an airline typically needs 10 pilots per aircraft, most Indian carriers have brought it down to 8.
Currently, India has 5,000 trained pilots but industry estimates suggests the requirement will rise to 9,000 in the next two years.
“The decision is not based on merit and logic related to demand/supply dynamics and more important, reflects poorly on the institutional functioning at the DGCA,” Kaul said.
With over 7,000 Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) holders looking for jobs, there is no shortage of junior pilots in the market but trained commanders are always in shortage, he said.