According to official data, the aviation regulator DGCA issued 1,622 commercial pilot licenses (CPL) in 2023, the most for any year in the recent decade. Following 2022, 2023 was the second consecutive year of decade-high CPL issuances. From 1,165 licenses awarded in 2022, CPL issuances increased 39 percent year on year (YoY). "This is the second year in a row that the number of licenses issued has reached a decade high," stated the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in a statement.
In 2023, women received roughly one out of every five CPLs given by the regulator. According to the DGCA, the number of CPLs granted to women increased by 22.5 percent year-on-year (YoY). According to the DGCA, women pilots account for 14% of all scheduled airline pilots. Meanwhile, the regulator announced the approval of a new Helicopter Flying instruction Organization, allowing hopefuls to receive instruction and obtain Commercial Helicopter license.
"With this, it is expected that the helicopter industry, largely engaged in Regional Connectivity Services (RCS), pilgrimage, air-ambulance, etc., will shore up in terms of crew strength by receiving an additional pool other than ex-military pilots," the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.
"(The growth) comes at a time when the country's civil aviation sector is recovering at a fast pace post the coronavirus pandemic, and several major operators like Air India and Indigo have announced placing huge orders of new aircraft for Commercial Aircraft operations," the ministry said.
The rise in CPL issuances reflects an increasing need for pilots to serve passengers on Indian airlines. Commercial aviation in the country needs more than 1,000 pilots per year to keep up with the expanding air traffic in the industry. Similarly, nearly 1,000 planes will be delivered to domestic carriers between 2030 and 2035.
The Tata group of airlines, which includes Air India, Vistara, and Air India Express, as well as IndiGo, the largest airline by market share, expect to deliver over 1,000 planes by 2030 and beyond. Air India placed the world's second-largest single-tranche aircraft purchase in February of last year, for 470 planes: 250 with Airbus and 220 with Boeing. IndiGo placed the world's largest single-tranche aircraft order with Airbus in June of the same year, for 500 A320 family planes.