New Delhi: Aviation watchdog DGCA is looking at the option of introducing a new pilots training programme that will focus more on competitive assessment rather than just fixed flying hours.
The introduction of Multi-Crew Pilot License (MPL) programme — which is in place in many European countries — could be an alternate mode that would be more efficient and quicker, a senior DGCA official said.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has constituted a committee to look into the “pros and cons of MPL”, as per an order issued by the regulator.
The MPL programme shifts the focus from “prescriptive flying hours requirements to competency-based training and assessment”, it said.
As per a document from the global airlines’ grouping IATA, MPL is a state-of-the-art ab-initio airline pilot training programme, seamlessly integrated with an airline type rating, with continuous multi-crew focus.
The MPL training is dynamic, rather than hours-prescriptive (the traditional ab-initio commercial pilot license training approach), according to the document.
“The committee is expected to examine the implication of adoption or otherwise of MPL and submit its recommendations by 16 September, 2019 for further action,” the order stated.
In case the MPL programme is introduced in the country, it would be as an option. Currently, an individual has to undergo training, clock a specified flying hours and clear examinations for a commercial pilot license.
The programme is expected to help in bridging the supply and demand gap for pilots. Around 350 pilots pass out from flying schools every year but the requirement is estimated to be 600 to 800 pilots annually, the official said.
Recently in June, Air India suffered a loss of Rs 430 crore in the four-month period when air space was restricted by Pakistan after the Balakot airstrikes, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had informed the Rajya Sabha.
Replying to supplementary questions during Question Hour, the minister had said that the government was committed to privatisation of the national carrier but is working on a turnaround plan for making it profit-making before it is privatised. He said that 40% of the operating expenses of the airline is on fuel and other geopolitical factors and the closure of air space by Pakistan cost the airline dearly.