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Thursday, February 14, 2008

IAF hopes for better pay packets to tackle pilot shortage

The Indian Air Force is hoping for higher pay packages to overcome the shortage of around 300 pilots in its ranks.

"There is a slight shortage, between 250 and 300, of pilots in the force but the situation is not alarming," Air Chief Marshal F.G. Major said here Thursday.

Better pay packages for pilots will help attract talent and overcome the shortage, he told reporters on the sidelines of the International Flight Test Seminar organised by the Aircraft and System Testing Establishment (ASTE) here. "We hope the Sixth Pay Commission will give a boost in this regard," Major said.

The Air Force has also introduced a short-term service of 14 years for pilots as part of the plan to overcome the shortage, he said.

This will also help the growing civil aviation sector as there will be a pool of trained pilots discharged from the Air Force after the short term service, Major said.

Earlier, Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju inaugurated the seminar. Speaking at the function, he said the three armed forces - Army, Navy and Air Force - together were short of 12,000 officers.

Raju urged the state governments to look after the Sainik Schools as they were the major contributors of talent to the armed forces. The support to the armed forces in several states on this matter was inadequate, he said.