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IndiGo plans to bid adieu to foreign pilots

January 11, 2009 14:30 IST

Low-cost airline Indigo plans to phase out its employment of foreign pilots in the next few years, even as it plans to hire 100 cabin crew and up to 50 pilots in the near future.

The airline, which recently became the third largest in the country in terms of market share, also plans to increase its network to 20-21 cities and enhance frequencies on its existing routes in the next one year.

It currently operates in 17 cities in the country.

"As we grow in size, pilots within the country would like to fly with us. Gradually we will have only Indian pilots. It saves us manpower costs too to have only domestic pilots," IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh told PTI.

Asked if the phase out can happen in the next two-three years, Ghosh said: "Thats what we hope for."

The airline is currently conducting the exercise to have 30-50 pilots and 50 cabin crew on board in the next few days.

"We will shortly have 30-50 pilots and 50 cabin crew with us.

Over the next one year, we will hire a total of 100 cabin crew members," he said.

The new pilots are being hired for IndiGo's operations in Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Jaipur.

The airline currently has about 400 cabin crew.

The no-frill carrier has already reduced the number of expat pilots to about 55 from 96 in the beginning of last year. It has a total of 226 pilots at present.

IndiGo would also add three-four cities to its existing network in the next one year.

"We hope to add three-four destinations to our current network in the next one year.

At the same time our focus will be to offer enhanced connectivity on our present sectors," Ghosh said.

The airline would take delivery of six-nine aircrafts every year for the next eight-nine years. In 2005, it had placed orders for 100 jets from Airbus A320 family to be delivered till 2016.

It became the third largest carrier by flying 4,41,000 passengers in November with a market share of 14.7 per cent.

It has carried about eight million people since its inception in 2006.

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