Low-cost carrier and India's biggest private airline by marketshare IndiGo has hiked salaries of its pilots by upto 13 percent and cabin crew by 16 percent on average in an attempt to prevent Gulf carriers from poaching skilled commanders.
Now a first officer with IndiGo will get Rs 2.61 lakh every month for flying his stipulated 50 hours. This amounts to roughly a Rs 1 lakh hike, but he can earn upto Rs 3.3 lakh if he flies 90 hours. A senior first officer will get Rs 3.75 lakh for 70 hours of flying which can go up to Rs 4.3 lakh if he does 90 hours. A captain will get Rs 6.01 lakh for 70 hours and over Rs 7 lakh for 90 hours, the Economic Times reported today.
Even cabin crew have been given a significant increase in pay. A cabin attendant will get Rs 31,000, a senior cabin attendant Rs 40,000, a lead cabin attendant Rs 60,000 and the check crew Rs 90,000 for flying 40 hours. Bonuses for 90 hours will range between Rs 45,000 to more than Rs 1 lakh.
IndiGo's pay hike comes two months after budget carrier SpiceJet hiked the pay of its Bombardier Q-400 fleet commanders by 20-25 percent, bringing them on par with Boeing pilots to arrest the increased migration of such pilots to the cash-rich gulf airlines such as Qatar and Etihad who offer attractive pay packages.
Tax-free salary, free company housing, along with schooling and medical expenses being borne by the airline are some of the perks that make Gulf carriers attractive for pilots.
A report in Hindustan Times says Gulf carriers — mainly Etihad and Qatar Airways — have poached over a 100 pilots, mainly senior captains, from India in the last six months. and IndiGo has been the worst affected.
In fact, in May, Indian airlines even urged the government to formulate some regulations to tackle the issue. The industry sought the government to intervene to prevent the migration of domestic pilots, who are drawn away by these airlines with "un-matching" salary packages, by incorporating some additional riders while negotiating air services agreements with other countries.
Little wonder that national carrier Air India, which recently recruited 78 new pilots and 300 cabin crew, has made it compulsory for the new recruits to be hired as contract workers. This means under the current norms, pilots who don’t serve the specified notice period or breach the bond liabilities will be terminated from service.
" We have to sign a bond guarantee of Rs 12 lakh. This means that if we choose to switch to another airline before the expiry of the 5-year contract with Air India we will have to pay the airline Rs 12 lakh, " a newly-recruited pilot told Firstpost on condition of anonymity.
AI saw 50 pilots exit in 2014, with captains quitting to join Gulf carriers and private domestic airlines.
Updated Date: Jul 06, 2015 10:36:51 IST