While local airlines are expanding their fleet with the domestic air passenger traffic growing at over 20 per cent for nearly two years, there is a significant shortage of Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AME), the industry insiders say.
"I have a shortage of 150-200 engineers and I have employed my retired staff to fill up the gap...I have taken about 150 people on a contract for three years," Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) CEO H R Jagannath said here today.
There has been no recruitment of AMEs in the last 10 to 12 years, he said, adding currently Air India group has around 750 such engineers including the retired individuals who have been taken on three-year contracts.
As a thumb rule, one aircraft requires around seven engineers.
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, AIESL provides MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) services to aircraft.
Noting that 10-15 AMEs are retiring every month, Jagannath said Air India has also started recruitment drive for these engineers.
Currently, regulations do not allow private individuals to apply for AME examination and they have to be sponsored.
As part of efforts to deal with the situation, Jagannath said private candidates should be allowed to appear for oral examination conducted by aviation regulator DGCA.
"DGCA has agreed to it (allowing private candidates to take orals). They (DGCA) are very proactive and by March, I expect the rules to be in place," he added.
According to Jagannath, there is an urgent need for AMEs in the industry, especially since the carriers are expanding their fleet and Air India itself plans to add 130 planes.
The Indian MRO sector has significant growth potential and is expected to have a size worth USD 5.2 billion by 2036, as per leading consultancy KPMG.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)