'Air India facing shortage of commanders and first officers'

'Air India facing shortage of commanders and first officers'

Air India is facing a shortage of of commanders and first officers to operate its fleet of wide and narrow body aircraft for international and domestic operations, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said today.

Singh, in reply to a question in Lok Sabha, said there is a shortage of 86 cockpit crew for the new Boeing 787 aircraft.

"There is a requirement of 90 pilots to operate five Boeing 787 Dreamliner but at present only four is available," he said, adding that "for 18 Boeing 777 aircraft there is a need for 396 pilots but only 297 is available."

The national carrier, however, has surplus pilot strength for flying its Boeing 747s.

Singh said 121 pilots were undergoing training for Boeing 777, 10 for Boeing 747 and 77 for Boeing 787 aircraft. Singh said there were 779 pilots with Air India to operate narrow body aircraft like Airbus 320, Airbus 319, Airbus 321 and Airbus 330.

"Of these 779, 30 pilots have been trained to operate Boeing 787s," Singh said
To an another question, he said there are 26,481 regular employees in Air India and 60 on contract, 240 permanent and 1,258 on contract in Air India Charters Limited and 907 employees on contract in Alliance Air Service.

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