Air India plans to speed up the training of its cadet pilots and recruit first officers and captains locally and internationally to make up for a shortfall.

The state-owned carrier has sacked around 100 pilots from a union that called for a strike several weeks ago, while another 300 have continued to stay away. This is despite a court order asking them to return to work and the personal appeal of the civil aviation minister Ajit Singh.

Their path back to the airline appears to be tougher, with Singh announcing on 6 June that 60 of the airline's 90 cadet pilots will be "available for regular flying" within the next five months. The training of the remaining 30 will also "start immediately", he adds.

Air India will also recruit and hire "pilots from the domestic and international markets", he says.

The airline had to stop a large number of its international services as a result of the strike, but Singh says that with the measures, "the entire original Air India network of 27 stations shall be not only fully restored but expanded" as well.

Addressing a major grievance of Air India's pilots and crew, Singh also said that a new Crew Management System (CRS) has been put in place, replacing an older manual system.

This will ensure "high levels of safety of operations, meet regulatory requirements, optimum crew utilisation, bringing objectivity in crew management and achieving crew satisfaction", he adds.

"We are also bringing a new and objective examination system for in-service pilots in place of the existing system, in which there will also be a provision of appeal," he adds.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news