Air India's Decision To Hire New Captains Met With Opposition – Simple Flying

The airline is looking to hire more pilots as it expands its fleet.
Pilot unions in India are not happy with Air India's decision to hire new captains on contract, saying there are many first officers waiting to be promoted. The airline needs plenty of experienced cockpit crew to operate its expanding fleet and is looking to fill these roles by offering contractual positions.
According to a report by The Economic Times (ET), two major pilot unions in India are against Air India hiring new captains, citing reasons related to the career progression of existing pilots.
The airline is in the middle of a massive overhaul of its operations and fleet and needs a larger pool of experienced commanders to fly all the new aircraft that will join in the coming months and years.
Air India will receive more than 30 airplanes on short-term lease. In what can be seen as its first significant fleet expansion in years, the carrier will progressively add both widebody and narrowbody aircraft in the coming months. In September, the airline announced that it will induct many new aircraft on lease, including the Boeing 777-200LR and Airbus narrowbodies.
Furthermore, it is expected to finalize massive orders with both Airbus and Boeing for up to 500 airplanes that will join its fleet over the next decade.
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But the unions have expressed their displeasure with the airline's ads of hiring A320 and 777 captains on a contractual basis and want clarification on the seniority issues of existing pilots, according to the letter written by the unions to the carrier's HR department and accessed by ET.
This comes close on the heels of reports suggesting that Air India is facing a shortage of pilots to fly some of its 777 planes. The unions had earlier highlighted the issue by saying that they "cannot maintain the printed planned roster due to a shortage of pilots, as CMS (crew management system) does not have standby pilots."
Air India is facing teething troubles of hiring flying crew fast enough to keep up with its growth plans. Some of its recent flights to North America were also affected due to a shortage of cabin crew who are awaiting visas to enter the US.
Many of Air India's crew have also opted for the voluntary retirement scheme, and there are also reports of the carrier calling some of them back to fill the gaps.
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But the airline is trying its best to hire more cockpit crew. Earlier this month, Air India graduated its first batch of cabin crew trainees and new pilots since privatization. The batch of 215 cabin crew and 48 pilots, all Indian nationals, have received their wings and are now ready to be deployed to operate as fully-qualified crew. Most of these crew members will join the airline's A320 fleet.
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Source: The Economic Times
With a background in publishing and digital media, Gaurav likes to combine his love for aviation with his fondness for storytelling. He's a keen observer of ever-changing aviation trends around the world and particularly in India. Gaurav also keeps a close eye on the fleet development of all major carriers and their subsequent impact on regional and international routes. Based in New Delhi, India.


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