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First in India! Air India to set up its own flying school in Maharashtra to train pilots

Air India is reportedly setting up a flying school in Maharashtra’s Amravati. The school is expected to train as many as 180 pilots a year. While the school will cater to internal requirements initially, the Tata Group that owns the airline, sees potential in catering to external needs in the future too. 

First in India! Air India to set up its own flying school in Maharashtra to train pilots gcw
First Published Jun 18, 2024, 4:45 PM IST

Air India is establishing a flying school in Amravati, Maharashtra, to address an anticipated shortage of pilots. With the ability to teach up to 180 pilots a year, the academy would offer ambitious pilots without any prior flying experience a straight route to the cockpit of Air India when they successfully complete following training phases.

According to media reports, Air India has chosen about thirty single-engine and four multi-engine aircraft from American manufacturer Piper and European manufacturer Diamond for its training fleet. Since over 40% of students now pursue training abroad, which may cost as much as Rs 1.5-2 crore, the Indian government is aggressively supporting the growth of commercial pilot training within the nation.

The report further said, "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."

With the Tata Group's acquisition of Air India, the airline has placed an order for 470 aircraft, and CEO Campbell Wilson has stated that they will introduce one new aircraft every six days in 2024. In contrast, major Indian airlines like IndiGo and SpiceJet have historically partnered with independent flight schools in India and abroad to establish branded training programmes.

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. The airline has set up its own training centre in Gurgaon, which is furnished with six simulators to provide type-rated and recurrent training to its pilots, in partnership with Airbus and L3 Harris from the US.

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.

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