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Jet in troubled waters: IndiGo fishes more than 100 Jet Pilots

Development comes as IndiGo seeks to fix its flying-crew shortage amid aggressive expansion of its fleet, which comprises over 210 aircraft
New Delhi: IndiGo will take over 100 Boeing 737 commander level pilots into service, with a large chunk including those leaving Jet Airways. This development comes as India’s largest airline seeks to fix its flying-crew shortage amid the aggressive expansion of its fleet, which comprises over 210 aircraft. It would take around half a year to train Boeing pilots to operate A320s, an aircraft type the carrier runs, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

IndiGo’s flight cancellations due to pilot shortage

Battling with a shortage of pilots, IndiGo last month decided to run around 30 lesser flights each day till the end of this month. The carrier has already taken in approximately 130 expatriate pilots from around the globe. The budget carrier has a present pilot strength of more than 3,000, including over 1,200 commanders.

Jet can’t keep hold of its pilots

Jet has been grappling with financial woes for many months and owes money to banks, pilots, vendors, and lessors, owing to fuel costs and intense competition. On the other hand, IndiGo has even offered compensation for overdue salaries to senior pilots, especially those coming from Jet. IndiGo also received a strong turnout in a similar recruitment drive held last week. Moreover, soon IndiGo will begin new overseas destinations, which includes Turkey (started Wednesday), Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and China. Appointing and training Boeing pilots would likely be a cheaper option compared to hiring expatriate pilots, who charge salaries more than two times of their Indian peers. Basic salaries are around US$ 13,000 each month. The present number of pilots in the country is estimated to be 7,963, Sydney-based consultant CAPA (Centre for Aviation) says. Airlines will need to appoint 17,164 for more in 10 years.