Growing Pains For India’s Aviation Industry


With a booming economy and a rapidly expanding aviation sector, India is finding it tough to fill all of its pilot seats, and extra demands are made on the pilots that are available. Pilots at Air India are assigned to legs as long as 10 hours without relief, a practice that would not be allowed under FAA air-carrier rules. To ease the shortage, India has been hiring foreign pilots to fill its seats, but that has caused problems when the pilots are not fluent in English. Incidents in recent months involving foreign pilots have raised concerns that there may be miscommunication with air traffic controllers, and even among cockpit crews. Air India ordered 68 new airliners from Boeing early this year — so lots more seats are on the way. Senior Air India pilots told that the long legs mean that when they approach busy international airports for landing, they are already worn out from flying.