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Rediff.com  » Business » IndiGo lures grounded SpiceJet pilots

IndiGo lures grounded SpiceJet pilots

January 12, 2015 09:26 IST

Also, offering jobs to SpiceJet pilots are Jet Airways and Vistara.

A cockpitLow-cost carrier SpiceJet is in deep financial trouble but its pilots are high in demand.

The airline is trying to save on wage costs by cutting the normal notice period of six months by about half for pilots who have already resigned.

However, market leader IndiGo has offered the latter their basic pay for the period till March (when the notice period gets over) if they join.

Sources in the sector told Business Standard about 60 of the approximately 100 SpiceJet pilots who have resigned have been offered jobs by IndiGo.

The latter is expanding its fleet. Also, offering jobs to SpiceJet pilots are Jet Airways and Vistara.

“This is a big relief. Instead of getting no pay, the pilots, who have a gross pay of about Rs 550,000 lakh a month, will at least get about Rs 170,000 after taxes (basic pay) while sitting at home without a job.

"They cannot join IndiGo early because their training slots have only been booked for later,” said a SpiceJet pilot.

IndiGo (which declined to respond to Business Standard’s queries), is the only domestic airline to report consistent profit at a time when the sector’s accumulated loss is about Rs 50,000 crore (Rs 500 billion).

It currently operates a fleet of 88 Airbus A320s.

In October last year, IndiGo had placed a record order, for 250 of the A320 aircraft, worth $25 billion (list prices) with France-based Airbus, on top of previous orders of 100 (2005) and 180 (2011) for similar aircraft.

IndiGo is also leasing 12 A320s from Singapore’s Tiger Airways. And, media reports say it has told the civil aviation ministry it could acquire even more planes.

The demand for pilots is at a high not only in India, where there are two new airlines, AirAsia and Vistara.

It is also coming from West Asian carriers.

Etihad is looking for senior pilots. Sectoral sources also say that in December, Qatar Airways held a hiring camp at a top hotel in Delhi for Boeing captains.

Qatar is largely looking for pilots for its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet, which works well for SpiceJet pilots, who also fly Boeing aircraft.

As reported by Business Standard, fleet expansion among domestic airlines will create a demand for 350 to 400 pilots this year.

This includes IndiGo’s plans to add at least 16 planes, 10-12 aircraft by AirAsia and a similar amount by Vistara.

Some more airlines are applying for an air operator’s permit, such as Air One and Pegasus Air.

BS Reporter in Mumbai
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