Plane truth: Poaching gives airlines CAT edge

With fog setting in, fledgling airlines are suddenly getting Category (CAT) II and CAT III certifications, which are mandatory for operating under low-visibility situations, such as fog or poor weather conditions.

The strategy of poaching experienced pilots from carriers, such as Indian Airlines, is now paying off for new domestic carriers.

Pilots are normally awarded CAT II status after operating under CAT I for a year. The next step, CAT III, is only possible after two years of operation under CAT II.

But, take this example: IndiGo Airlines, launched six months ago, has announced that it has received CAT III approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to operate in fog conditions. With over 40 per cent of its pilots already trained to operate in low visibility conditions, IndiGo will be able to maintain significantly better operations in fog this winter.

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