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IndiGo woos Jet's pilots, offers compensation for overdue salaries

By Shah Imran Ahmed
March 12, 2019 21:54 IST
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IndiGo is facing acute shortage of commanders amid aggressive expansion of its fleet. The carrier has more than 210 planes in its fleet.

Budget carrier IndiGo is offering jobs to pilots of Jet Airways along with compensation for overdue salaries from the cash-strapped full service airline.

IndiGo, the country's largest airline in terms of market share, on Tuesday also said that all job offers are in line with its current terms and conditions.

 

Crisis-hit Jet Airways has not paid salaries to its pilots, engineers and other senior management for more than three months now.

"IndiGo is offering Jet Airways' pilots job opportunities," an IndiGo spokesperson told PTI.

The no-frills airline's response came to queries on whether it was looking to hire pilots from Jet Airways and also offering them significant amount as joining bonuses.

The queries were sent to IndiGo's Chief Operating Officer Wolfgang Prock-Schauer.

"We are not offering a signing bonus. We are offering a compensation for overdue salaries," the spokesperson said.

On whether IndiGo is offering a bonus after third year of contract for pilots who would join from Jet Airways, the spokesperson replied in the negative.

Regarding shortage of pilots, IndiGo said it has an internal upgrade programme in place and is able to upgrade pilots in sufficient manner.

"Our pilot hiring programme always includes hiring from the market and Jet Airways is part of the external hiring programme," the spokesperson said.

IndiGo is facing acute shortage of commanders amid aggressive expansion of its fleet.

The carrier has more than 210 planes in its fleet.

Earlier, an aviation industry source told PTI that IndiGo was wooing Jet Airways pilots with attractive pay packets to meet the shortage of commanders.

"We are conducting open house interviews to getting contact with pilots. That's a common practice in the aviation industry not specific to Jet Airways," the spokesperson noted.

Shortage of trained and experienced pilots has been a problem for domestic airlines amid capacity expansion to meet rising passenger traffic.

Jet grounds another 4 planes

Financially-stressed Jet Airways on Tuesday said it has grounded another four of its aircraft due to non-payment of lease rentals.

With this, the total number of aircraft taken out of operations due to severe liquidity crunch in the airline and its subsequent failure to pay rentals to various lessors now stand at 32 so far.

In a filing to the stock exchanges, the full-service airline said, "An additional four aircraft have been grounded due to non-payment of amounts outstanding to lessors under their respective lease agreements."

However, Jet Airways chairman, in a letter to the airline's equity partner Etihad Airways' chief executive officer Tony Douglas last week said that more than 50 aircraft are grounded.

"As you are no doubt aware, Jet Airways is in a very precarious position, with more than 50 aircraft grounded and increasing arrears of vendors and salaries which makes the need for interim funding all the more imperative," Goyal said in his letter of March 8.

Jet Airways in the filing Tuesday also said it is making all efforts to minimise disruption to its network due to the grounding of these planes and is "proactively" informing and re-accommodating its affected guests, it said.

The airline has, however, not given the specific numbers of flights it has been cancelling every day due to the grounding of these planes.

 Jet Airways also continues to provide required and periodic updates to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in this regard, the airline added.

Photograph: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

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Shah Imran Ahmed in Mumbai
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