Raja Shahzaib Raza from Tral, was appointed as a pilot by Air India in February 2024

SRINAGAR: Air India has appointed two young Kashmiri pilots in the just-released selection list. Raja Shahzaib Raza from Tral and Burhan Ali from Beerwah in Budgam. This is the first appointment of the Greenhorn pilots.

Burhan Ali from Beerwa was appointed as a pilot by Air India in February 2024.

Burhan Ali is the son of retired DySP Ali Mohammad Dar from Kulhama-Zabigala Beerwah. He is the younger brother of DySP Umar Urfan (KPS).

Raja Shahzaib Raza, a 26-year-old youth, has brought laurels to his family and his hometown by qualifying for the examination to become a pilot. He is joining Air India, his first appointment as a commercial pilot.

Currently a resident of Kathi Darwaza, Rainawari, Shahzaib originally hails from the Tral area of District Pulwama. “My grandfather was from Tral, but later, my father migrated to Srinagar, and we have been living here since.” They were living in Tral’s Panner Jagir village before they migrated to Srinagar. His grandfather Late Raja Jafar Ali was a respected personality from the belt.

After completing his schooling in Srinagar, he decided to pursue his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Kashmir.

However, Shahzaib had long aspired to become a pilot. “I joined the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA) to pursue my passion, where I completed my flying training,” Shahzaib stated. “I finished my training last month, and yesterday I received the results that I have been selected for Air India.”

Shahzaib’s parents wanted him to complete his education first. “Since my father is an engineer, he wanted me to finish my engineering too. It was during the last year of my engineering that I enrolled in IGRUA. It was my childhood dream.”

Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA) is located in Rai Bareli, Uttar Pradesh and is an autonomous body under the control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. “We completed our training in three years because of the weather conditions in UP; otherwise, this training is completed within two years.”

Shahzaib’s father is a retired executive engineer and his mother is a retired government teacher. Youngest of the three siblings, Shahzaib has two elder sisters, one of whom is an electrical engineer now settled in London and the other one is pursuing her MD(gynaecology) from KGMU Lucknow.

Shahzaib stated that the three-year training has several examinations. “We have six subjects and two licences. We have to appear in exams every three months per year. And we have to qualify the papers. And we can do it anytime like before flying, even after that and even during the flying.”

Now waiting for his joining, Shahzaib is hopeful for a bright future and a flight of his dreams.