Two more Indian airline pilots arrested over fake qualifications

Two more Indian airline pilots have been arrested for using fake qualifications to gain their flying licences, as regulators delve into a growing aviation safety scandal.

After the men were detained yesterday in the western city of Jaipur, local anti-corruption police chief Umesh Mishra said the two men had obtained their licences by "submitting forged flying certificates."

Mishra said seven former students and two instructors at a nearby flying school had had their licences suspended.

The two arrested pilots worked for the low-cost airline SpiceJet before they were fired last week for "misrepresenting their flying hours in order to obtain their licences," according to a statement from the airline.

At least six pilots have now been caught up in the licence scandal, with Air India, Indigo and MDLR airlines also involved.

Regulators have announced plans to check that 4000 pilot licences have been obtained legally.

Rising incomes and the liberalisation of the airline market in the 1990s have led to an explosion in air travel in India, with passenger numbers up 25 per cent over the last 12 months.

With new routes and new aircraft, the half-dozen low-cost Indian airlines are competing fiercely for pilots.