India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation has asked the leading Indian carriers to submit a five-year hiring and training plan along with details of the number of local and overseas pilots on their payroll.

This assumes significance in the context of the DGCA's opposition to the hiring of expatriate pilots on the grounds that they are not familiar with Indian airfields and weather conditions. In April, the organisation had approved the extension of its deadline for phasing out expatriate pilots from June 2010 to July 2011. There are 60 expatriate pilots in service with major Indian carriers.

On a wider context, the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Air Transport Association have expressed concern about the global industry's apparent unpreparedness to provide for training of pilots and maintenance engineers for the future, but particularly in fast-growing regions such as India.

Source: Flight International