The Ministry of Civil Aviation will review Air India’s need for pilots next week.

The Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Ajit Singh, has asked the airline to update the Ministry on how many pilots they would require, both in the near as well as long term, official sources said.

“The Government is keen to find out how many pilots of the erstwhile Indian (Airlines) will be flying the Boeing 787 aircraft and whether the vacancy created by flying these big jets will be filled by other pilots in the airline, or hired Indian or expatriate pilots. All these issues are likely to be flagged at the review meeting,” a senior Government official said.

Three planes — of the 27 Boeing 787 aircraft that the airline had ordered — are expected to join its fleet by mid-August. The induction of the aircraft, which has been delayed by over four years, is expected soon after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gives it nod to the compensation that Air India is seeking from Boeing for delayed deliveries. The compensation package has already been approved by a Group of Ministers headed by the Home Minister, Mr P Chidambaram.

The airline plans to utilise the Boeing 787 aircraft to expand its international operations. For the first eight weeks after its arrival, the Boeing 787 aircraft will be utilised on domestic routes. But, from October end, the airline plans to utilise the Boeing 787 to launch a daily flight on the Delhi-Melbourne-Sydney sector.

This will be a new route for Air India. The airline also plans to use the aircraft to launch a daily flight to Kuala Lumpur.

ashwini.phadnis@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on July 28, 2012)
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