Air India on Monday announced its plans to set up a flying training organisation (FTO) in Maharashtra’s Amravati, and make it operational by early 2026. The company claims it will be South Asia’s largest such facility.

An Air India Airbus A350 aeroplane at Begumpet airport, Hyderabad. (Reuters File Photo)

The FTO’s target will be to operationalise 180 commercial pilots every year, adding that the DGCA-licensed FTO at Amravati’s Belora airport will be operational by the first quarter of FY26.

The Air India FTO, the first by any Indian airline in the country, will have 31 single-engine aircraft and 3 twin-engine aircraft for training, the company said in a statement.

“The FTO at Amravati will be a significant step towards making Indian aviation more self-reliant and offering more opportunities to the youth in India to fulfill their ambitions of flying as pilots,” Campbell Wilson, managing director and chief executive officer of Air India, said.

Air India was awarded a tender by the Maharashtra Airport Development Company to establish and operate this DGCA-licensed FTO in Amravati for a period of 30 years.

“The FTO will offer aspiring pilots an opportunity to undergo training with world-class curricula at par with best-in-class global schools. We are delighted to be playing a part in building the aviation infrastructure India needs as one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets and to support the government’s vision for an Atmanirbhar Bharat,” said Sunil Bhaskaran, director of the Aviation Academy of Air India.

Aviation consultancy CAPA last month in its outlook highlighted the shortage of manpower in the industry and expressed concern over it.

“The shortages of pilots, AMEs (aircraft maintenance engineers), cabin crew, flight dispatchers and others is far more serious than currently estimated or visible,” Kapil Kaul, CEO of CAPA India, said, adding that the introduction of the new flight duty time limitations guidelines that is likely to be implemented this year and poaching by Middle Eastern carriers is likely to accentuate the labour shortage issue.

Air India had earlier this year announced its new training academy, spread over 600,000 sqft, the largest in South Asia, in Gurugram.