Vincent Sequeira

What are the working hours of a Airline Pilot? And do they need to work for night shifts or flexible timings?

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by Vincent Sequeira
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RE: What are the working hours of a Airline Pilot? And do they need to work for night shifts or flexible timings?

Ashwani Bhakoo
Ashwani Bhakoo
Verified Career Expert
Career Counselor/ Chief Flying Instructor at NFTI
  • Pune

The working and the flying hours of an airline are two separate things. This depends upon the type of aircraft the pilot is flying and the type of work he is doing. In India this is regulated by the Director General of civil Aviation and are given in an order by them for all airlines. The duty of an airline Pilot falls under Duty time: which is the time at which an airline wants a pilot to report for duty, Flight Duty time is when an airline wants a pilot to report for flight duty and not any other duty and the third is flight time - this is the time that an airline pilot is actually flying. The aircraft which is operated by 2 members of the crew the flight duty time is limited to 12.5 h and the flight time is limited to 9 hours. In one week the pilot can fly a max of 35 hours and in one month a maximum of 125 hours and in one year a max of 1000h. In case there are more than 2 crew flying and there is a long duration flight like international operations then the flight time with three pilot operations will increase to 12 hours, with four pilot operations will increase to 16 hours. However if this has happened then they are to be given rest for a min of 24 hours, The maximum of flight duty time can be 60 hrs in 7 days and 100 hrs in 14 days and 190 hrs in 28 days. If we see all this it is clear that the max duty time of a pilot on a daily basis is difficult to calculate but he has sufficient off time and on an average

,he would work for not more than10 hrs per day. There is another restriction that no pilot would work for more than 6 consecutive days and if he does then he is to be given the seventh day off. it is the duty of the airline to make sure that at no times these limits are exceeded and even if the pilot is on standby at home then also he is considered on duty that day. During night operations these limits are even reduced further and no pilot is permitted to fly for more than 2 nights continuously after which he must be given a rest. The minimum rest a pilot must get before a flight is 12 hrs if in the same flight zone and if he is changing timezones then this goes up beyond 36 hrs. To ensure all this happens the operator is to make sure that no pilot reports more than 45 mins before the flightand must leave within 30 minutes of his landing.

Thus the duty time of a pilot is quite complex and cannot be put in just hours or days.

RE: What are the working hours of a Airline Pilot? And do they need to work for night shifts or flexible timings?

Rahul Shinde
Rahul Shinde
Verified Career Expert
Career Consultant at Pinnacle School of Business Management
  • Thane

Dear Vincent,

Greeting's for the day!!!

Being a pilot is one of the finest, toughest and best careers across the globe. Many people are uncertain about the procedure to become an airline pilot and about the various career options as a pilot. Pilots are highly trained and skilled professionals. They can fly various aircraft and helicopters. Flying does not require much physical effort but the mental stress of being responsible for a safe flight of an aircraft full of passengers in all kinds of weather can be demanding. Before take-off the pilot must prepare a flight plan, study the weather, make sure that the aircraft is airworthy, check that the cargo and fuel are safely loaded and work out estimated arrival time.

Pilots can work as few a 8 days in a month, to as many as 20. While pilots at a major airline might work 14 days in a month, you must keep in mind that they are not coming home from work on those 14 days. Pilots needs to work in all the shifts as per requirements. Pilot need to be physical and mentally fit and have good eye sight and color vision.

Every year, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will conduct pilot license examination in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Patna, Guwahati, Bhopal, IGRUA, Bhubaneshwar, Hyderabad, Bangalore, & Kochi. If anyone is interfered to join for Indian Air Force (IAF), they need to clear the NDA examination.

Airline flying has the highest salary and most amount of benefits. Some of these are corporate aviation (flying company airplanes), agricultural flying (crop dusting), and you could fly full time in the military. Regional (or commuter) airlines also employ pilots, although the pay scales and working conditions are not like the major airlines.

One can get jobs at AirIndia, SpiceJet, Lufthansa, Jet Airways, AirAsia, IndiGo, National Aviation Company of India and many more.

  • Requirements:

  • Candidates who are applying for pilot training license, must undergo
    a medical test.

  • Candidates should meet the requirements set by the DGCA.

  • There is no need to be in perfect health to be a commercial pilot,
    but to get a job as an army pilot and other public sector pilots,
    perfect health is mandatory.

  • Candidates whose age is above 18 years.
  • Candidates who have passed 10+2 in science discipline with Physics
    and Mathematics as compulsory subjects.
  • Candidates who have passed diploma in any engineering discipline.
  • Candidates who have passed bachelor's degree in science with Physics
    and Mathematics as compulsory subjects.

  • Training Cost:

India: 15 to 20 lakh
USA: 20 to 25 lakh
New Zealand: 20 to 25
Canada: 19 to 23 lakh
UK: 20 to 25 lakh

  • Salary:

  • According to sources, a fresher pilot can get a salary of around Rs
    1.5 to 2 lakh per month, for domestic airlines.
  • Experienced pilots flying on international routea can get Rs 5 to 6
    lakh per month.

  1. Government Aviation Training Institute, Bhubaneswar
  2. Coimbatore Flying Club, Coimbatore
  3. Indian Aviation Academy, Mumbai
  4. Jamshedpur Co-operative Flying Club Ltd, Jamshedpur
  5. All India Institute of Aeronautics, (AIIA), Dehradun
  6. Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy, Secunderabad
  7. Ahmedabad Aviation and Aeronautics, Ahmedabad
  8. Government Flying Training School, Bangalore
  9. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi, Bareli
  10. West Bengal Flying Training Institute, Kolkata

Further doubts or queries feel free to contact.


RE: What are the working hours of a Airline Pilot? And do they need to work for night shifts or flexible timings?

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