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India travel boom fuels crippling pilot shortage, many flights cancelled

INDIGO, an Indian budget carrier, is cancelling dozens of flights daily, as it struggles to find enough pilots after a period of rapid expansion

India travel boom fuels crippling pilot shortage, many flights cancelled

INDIGO, an Indian budget carrier, is cancelling dozens of flights daily, as it struggles to find enough pilots after a period of rapid expansion

22 February 2019 - 19:00

INDIGO, an Indian budget carrier, is cancelling dozens of flights daily, as it struggles to find enough pilots after a period of rapid expansion. reports Bloomberg.

India needs 17,000 new pilots in the next decade, according to Kapil Kaul, New Delhi-based chief executive officer at consultancy CAPA India..



Pilots at Asia's biggest low-cost airline by market value have exhausted their annual limit on flying hours earlier than expected, say informed sources. who asked not to be identified. IndiGo declined to comment on pilot shortage.



The airline, which controls more than 40 per cent of the domestic market in India, scrapped as many as 49 flights on a weekday, and said it will cancel 30 flights a day until the end of the month.



Those disruptions will continue through March, as the airline adjusts its crew rosters, IndiGo, operated by InterGlobe Aviation, said in a statement.



But it did not cite a pilot shortage, but weather conditions and restrictions at various airports that 'resulted in extended duty times' for crew, forcing the company to re-schedule.



The problems at IndiGo, the biggest customer for Airbus A320neo jets, follow difficulties at China Airlines, when cockpit crew went on a strike complaining of overwork, leaving thousands of passengers stranded during a peak travel season in the region.



IndiGo, which inducted 19 Airbus A320-family aircraft in the past four months, is aggressively adding capacity as carriers rush to cash in on a travel boom in India, the world's fastest growing aviation market.



More aircraft also mean having to hire more pilots, typically at least 12 for every narrowbody jet, adding to costs.


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