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Pilot shortage said to be hitting IndiGo hard

PW Bureau

The carrier, which told the country’s aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, it had cancelled 49 flights on Wednesday, announced a plan to cut close to 30 flights per day till March 31

Mumbai: Owing to a shortage of skilled pilots, budget carrier IndiGo Airlines is cutting dozens of flights daily for the next two months, a source with knowledge of the matter said. The chaos arose because India’s largest domestic carrier’s pilots exhausted their annual flying hours limit sooner than usual, the sources said. IndiGo have refused to speak on the pilot shortage.

The carrier, which told the country’s aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, it had cancelled 49 flights on Wednesday, announced a plan to cut close to 30 flights per day till March 31. IndiGo cited weather-related disruptions and runway repair work at the Bengaluru and Mumbai airports as the reasons for the cancellations of its flights until next month.

However, operations will only be back to normal when the summer schedule starts from March 31.

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

Lack of planning will cost airline

“Their over ambitious aircraft growth without planning ahead with crew numbers will cost them,” said Mohan Ranganathan, a former commercial pilot and an aviation consultant based in Chennai.

After inducting about 62 in the current year, IndiGo is likely to add at least 40 more planes in the year ending March 31, 2020, says consultancy CAPA India. Jet, which also runs smaller ATR aircraft on regional routes, has 430 Airbus A320-family jets on order, on top of a previous deal to buy 100 narrowbody jets.