Test for pilots to go online from August 2018

India’s aviation regulator has decided to conduct examinations for pilots and engineers online and increase the frequency of qualifying tests to ensure availability of skilled workforce in the world’s fastest-growing aviation market.

In the case of pilots, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will now conduct tests monthly instead of quarterly, a senior DGCA official told ET.

“The exams will be conducted online starting August this year and there will be a provision to conduct exams more than once in a month. We are also looking at decentralising the exam process and conduct exams across the country,” said the official, who did not wish to be identified.

This will help address the shortage of pilots in the country at a time when domestic carriers are planning to induct 900 aircraft including replacements into their fleets in the coming years.

This will help address the shortage of pilots in the country at a time when domestic carriers are planning to induct 900 aircraft including replacements into their fleets in the coming years.

In line with the plan for pilots, tests for aircraft maintenance engineers (AME) are already being conducted online. “The course for AME has already been synced with the one offered by the European regulator EASA and online exams have started for engineers,” said the DGCA official cited earlier.

Analysts welcomed the DGCA’s move but said that the regulator should do more. “This a positive move, but it is just a baby step as it would address only one part of it. The regulator should also look at reforming the whole licensing process for pilots with an aim to do away with the need for pilots to come to the DGCA for licence renewal,” said Shakti Lumba, former head of operations at Air India and IndiGo.

He said that pilots in the US are issued licences for life with conditions, unlike in India, where pilot licences need to be renewed every five years.

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