Job Description

Pilots fly and navigate aircraft, helicopters, and other types of airplanes. Modern aircraft are operated by a two-cockpit crew made up of the captain and the co-pilot/ first officer. The captain or pilot in command, usually the most experienced pilot, supervises all other crew members and has primary responsibility for the flight. The co-pilot/ first officer, shares flight duties with the captain to fly the plane, communicate with air traffic controllers, monitor instruments, and ensure passenger comfort/safety.

Pilots are hired broadly into defense and civil aviation. A choice between the two mainly depends on the passion for flying and financial capability. Depending on the organization, pilots work mainly in transporting people and cargo, military and combat missions, intelligence and scientific surveillance, rescue and firefighting, agricultural missions, etc. Passenger airline pilots hold the title of the most lucrative career in light of career progression, lifestyle, salary, and benefits.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Performing pre and post-flight inspections of all aircraft equipment’s and systems.
  • Operating the aircraft safely.
  • Updating and reassuring passengers and crew during emergencies.
  • Determining the safest routes and analysing flight plans prior to take-off.
  • Anticipating issues and maintaining professionalism during emergencies.
  • Fill out reports about the flight and the status of the aircraft after landing.
  • Keeping up to date with aircraft advancements and equipment.

Eligibility And Requirements

Age SPL (Student pilot license) – 16 Years and 10th (earliest you can enrol for the course)
PPL (Private pilot license) – 17 Years
CPL (Commercial pilot license) – 18 Years
Education 10+2 with Physics and Math (Preferably with English) from CBSE or equivalent qualification from the board recognized by CBSE, State Govt. Education Board
In case of technical education like Diploma, it should be recognized either by AICTE or by the respective Directorate of Technical Education of State Govt
If any other qualification, stream or low percentage marks, candidates can apply for either subject from NIOS (National institute of open schooling)
Language Training and Airline Environment language is English; therefore, a good command of spoken and written English is important. Candidates also needs to undertake ICAO English level Proficiency test during their training for issue of CPL.
Documents Indian passport or OCI
Police clearance
Medical There is a huge misconception that pilot training requires perfect medical condition. It is true in case of Air force and other defense aviation but commercial aviation requirements are much relaxed. Read about the medical requirements.
Height 158 cms and above (preferred)
Eyesight 6/6 with corrective spectacles
Skills Teamwork, communication, interpersonal, management, multitasking, adaptability, professionalism, mental and physical fitness

Process Civil Aviation

Meet the DGCA and Airline eligibility

Get Class 2 and Class 1 medical

Register for PMR number, eDGCA id and Computer number

Choose a certified Flight school in India or abroad

Complete ground training of aviation subjects

Get a SPL and start flying training

Get a Type-Rating to improve your chances of selection

Prepare for airline entrance exams and interviews

Get the license issued from DGCA

Complete flying as per DGCA requirements including Instrument and Multi engine rating

During flying training, pass DGCA and RTR exams

For Defense Aviation, read Defense career

Candidate Registration

Once all the requirements are met, candidates need to register with DGCA. There are 3 different registration required which gives access to specific facilities



  • Stands for “previous medical record”
  • Issued by after Class 2 medical report is
  • submitted.
  • It is a unique file number for each candidate that maintains for its documentation.
  • All future communication will be based
  • on this reference.



  • It is a permanent unique number issued to each candidate by the Central examination organization (CEO), DGCA.
  • It is required for appearing in the examinations conducted by DGCA.
  • It’s not required for appearing in the examinations of SPL, GPL, FRTOL-R.
  • Min age 16 years.



  • Applicant must be registered on eGCA portal and should have a unique eGCA ID.
  • This portal maintains all the Licenses, Ratings, and Flying hours records.
  • All the Licensing issuance and Renewal requests are made from here.

Training Overview

In India, students can pursue a pilot career in two ways, Defense or Civilian.

The defense forces: Indian Air Force, Indian Naval Air Arm, Army Aviation Corps, and Indian Coast Guard recruit pilots every year via SSB, NDA, CDSE, and AFCAT. The defense career is highly competitive with 300,000 candidates applying annually for 100 posts. Depending on the path of entry, after completion, of the course, candidates are bonded for a fixed term, after which they have the choice to either continue the employment or seek retirement and switch to civil aviation.

On the civilian side, once the eligibility requirements and medical check are met, the candidate can start by deciding between training in India or training abroad. The decision between the two depends on a variety of factors such as cost, duration, quality of training, and personal preference. Irrespective of the country, it is important to select a flight school with a good infrastructure and safety record. Once in the flight school, candidates are provided with a Student Pilot License (SPL) to start their flying career. Candidates will eventually progress to Private Pilot License (PPL) stage and then ultimately Commercial Pilot License (CPL). Candidates planning to join an airline will also be getting additional certifications like Instrument rating, multi-engine rating, MCC, ELP, Type-rating, etc. Read about all types of licenses.

Candidates can now find jobs in a variety of companies such as Passenger Airlines, Defense, Charter Airlines, Cargo airlines, Flight schools, etc.

Click here for the list of Flight Schools in India

Airline Selection

Airline entrances are highly competitive and candidates are selected through a multi-layer selection process.

Written exam (knowledgecheck)

Psychometry test (Aptitude, multi-tasking, and decision making)

Group discussion (General awareness, team player, leadership, language)

Simulator test (Aircraft flying skill)

Final interview
and Attitude)

Type Rating

Getting a commercial pilot license is just the first big step toward becoming an airline pilot. The next step is to get a type rating for the specific aircraft that you want to operate from a DGCA-approved simulator center, also known as TRTO (Type-Rating Training Organization). The most common aircraft types are A320, B737, ATR72, and Q400. Most airlines in India nowadays ask for a Type-rating endorsement for interview eligibility.

Click here for the list of DGCA-approved Type-Rating centers.

Career Progression

Position Job Description
Trainee Pilot Entry Level Position in commercial airline. Flying under supervision of Instructors.
Junior First Officer First operational role after completion of airline type training
Senior First Officer 2-3 years as an operating First Officer. Eligible for Command Upgrade.
Captain After successful completion of Airline new promotion to Captain training.
Training captain (LTC) First step to enter training department. Job will include imparting line training only.
Type Rating Instructor (TRI) Succession in training role to impart simulator training.
Type Rating Examiner (TRE) Further promotion in training. Now qualified for checking and final clearance.
Test pilot Job includes checking aircraft handling characteristics after maintenance check or new induction
Management Pilot Management role looking after daily airline operations.
Recruitment Pilot Role involves conducting interviews for new pilot candidates.
Audit Pilot Role under safety department and involves special training for routine safety audits.
Ground Training Instructor Imparting recurrent and initial ground training for pilots and flight attendants.
Simulator Training Instructor/Examiner Similar to TRI/TRE but limited to instructions in the simulator only. Usually for medically grounded pilots.

Top Employers

Type Organization Post Requirements Salary
Defence Indian air force
Indian coast guard
Indian navy
Indian army aviation corps
Permanent/Short commission officer (pilot)
General duty pilot (Indian coast guard)
NDA, CDSE, AFCAT competition exams Rs 40k – 1.4 lakhs pm
Domestic Airliines Indigo airlines
Air India
Go air
Air Asia
Air India express
Alliance air
Trainee First officer
Junior First officer
CPL (First officer and trainee)
ATPL (Captain)
ME rating
IR rating
Type rating as per airline
Flying hours
Rs 1.5 – 10 lakhs pm
International Airliines Emirates
Qatar airways
Fly Dubai
Oman Air
Gulf Air
Saudia Airlines
Jazeera Airways
Junior First officer
ME rating
IR rating
Type rating as per airline
Flying hours as per airline
Rs 7.0 – 10.0 lakhs pm
Cargo Airliines Blue Dart Trainee First officer
First officer
CPL (First officer and
ATPL (Captain)
ME rating, IR rating
Type rating as per
Flying hours as per
Rs 1.20 – 4.50 lakhs pm
Charter Aviation Deccan Charter
Air Charter
AR Airways
Global Vectra Helicorp
Pinnacle Air
Reliance Commercial
First officer
CPL (First officer)
ATPL (Captain)
ME rating
IR rating
Type rating as per
Flying hours
Rs 1.0 – 5.0 lakhs pm
Corporate Aviation GMR
Reliance Transporation
Captain ATPL
ME rating
IR rating
Type rating as per
Flying hours
Rs 250k – Rs 800k pm
Government Airports Authority of
Indian Air Force
Indian Coast Guard
Indian Navy Indian
Army Aviation Corps
First Officer Vacancies are
published on
respective website
and newspapers
Rs 70k – 150k pm
Flight Schools Chimes Aviation
Falcon Aviation
Garg Aviation
Haryana Institute Of
Civil Aviation
Indira Gandhi Rashtriya
Udan Academy
National Flying
Training Institute
Orient Flight Aviation
Assistant Flight
Vacancies are
published on
respective websites
and newspapers.
Most students
finishing flying from
the school are
offered a Flight
instructor position.
Some schools also
offer to pay for
instructor training
in return for a
small bond.
Rs 80k – 250k pm

Note – Above figures are industry estimates. Actual numbers will vary depending on market requirements and organization.


Airline pilot is a very rewarding career, both financially and in terms of job satisfaction. Pilots get to see some truly fantastic sights from the air that one will never get tired of. Pilots are generally very well paid. A typical pilot in India starts her or his career, sometimes by the age of 21, with a salary of over Rs 1 lakh a month. A captain by the age of 27, takes home as much as Rs 5 lakhs monthly. Most airlines also offer excellent staff travel packages, with 100% -90% off the ticket prices for the entire family. Adding to it are excellent insurance, health, and pension benefits.

However, it must be noted that the path to get here is not easy. There is a huge amount of hard work that goes into flying. Flying is also a very expensive training with average spending of Rs 70-90 lakhs per student. The Indian aviation market is booming and there is a huge requirement for pilots, but the competition is equally fierce and recruiters are very selective, given the responsibility of this job. Getting the job is not the end of it, studying and keeping in touch with advances, maintaining skills, planning rest patterns, and making sure to stay healthy for medicals are equally challenging. Pilots also miss family occasions and celebrations at times, which can be frustrating. In the end, it’s a package that comes with pros and cons. However, the pros outweigh the cons if one has the passion and appreciation for flying.