Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: With Air-India all set to acquire a huge fleet of new aircraft, the Central Training Establishment here is planning to expand its operations by acquiring five more simulators of A-320 (two), Boeing 777, 787 and 737-800 to meet the training needs of more than 2,000 pilots in the coming years.


The CTE which has imparted training to hundreds of pilots, including late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi since its inception 50 years ago, will first acquire A-320 simulator, the fourth such facility (two simulators:A-320 and Boeing 737 are already there) , by calling a fresh tender shortly. Costing $12 million, the simulator is expected to be in operation in a year-and-half, Chief Executive of Air-India’s CTE C.J. Bhoopal told reporters here on Friday.

Air-India had placed an order in January 2006 for a total of 68 aircraft (8 B777-200 LR medium capacity, ultra long range aircraft, 15 B 777-300 ER medium capacity, long range-350-seater, 27 B 787 medium capacity, long range, 250 -seater aircraft and 18 B 7373-800 aircraft and the erstwhile Indian Airlines sealed a proposal for acquisition of 43 aircraft—19 A-319, 20 A-321 and four A-320).

Future plans

Captain Bhoopal said, future plans were aimed at recruiting more ground instructors to train pilots and meet the requirements of the entire fleet that would be with Air-India.

Plans were also afoot to appoint 550 cabin crew members in a couple of months.

With a dozen new aircraft proposed to be acquired every year, around 11 pilots were needed for each plane. On an average, 30 to 40 pilots would be trained on the state-of-the-art simulators every three months, he added.

In view of the growing demand for flight dispatchers, the CTE has sought permission from the Director-General of Civil Aviation to start a course for them.

This would be basically for other airlines. Captain Bhoopal, however, was not very optimistic of a boom in the aviation sector saying that was largely dependent on the health of the country’s economy. He said the CTE had recently achieved another first in getting recognition as Type Rating Training Organisation (TRTO) that would help in speeding up the training.