At 15 per cent India reports highest number of women pilots globally

There are nearly 10,000 pilots, including 67 foreign nationals, currently employed with various scheduled and non-scheduled Indian carriers, according to data from the aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). 

Of this number, 15 per cent or 1,500 are women pilots, which is three times the global average of 5 per cent, minister of state in the Ministry of Civil Aviation Gen (Retd) VK Singh told parliament’s lower house Lok Sabha Thursday. 

Among major Indian carriers, at 15, regional airline Alliance Air has the highest number of Foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorization (FATA) holders or expatriate pilots. 

IndiGo, India’s largest carrier by market share and fleet size has only four FATA holders. Full-service carrier Vistara, which is slated to be merged into the national flag carrier Air India, has one FATA holder.   

In 2021, various Indian scheduled airlines had recruited 244 pilots, the minister added. 

The country presently has 35 flying training organizations (FTOs) or flying schools at 53 locations. 

With a total number of 1,677 aircraft on order by the various Indian carriers over the next ten years, the country needs to significantly ramp up training in areas such as inflight and engineering. 

Air India CEO Campbell Wilson has said the national flag carrier would need to hire expat pilots for its Boeing 777 fleet, though he clarified their numbers would be minimal, at the recently concluded CAPA India Aviation summit in New Delhi. 

On February 14 Air India had surprised the global aviation industry by placing an order for 470 narrow and widebody aircraft. 

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