Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh Wednesday said Air India will go ahead and hire new pilots to tackle a prolonged strike by a section of its pilots that has crippled the international operations of the national carrier.
Currently the airline has 90 trainee pilots of whom 60 are already training and will be available for regular flying in four to five months.
The remaining 30 pilots will undergo training immediately.
“We had this pool of pilots (30 pilots) but we were earlier not in a position to train them. In the current circumstance we will immediately start their training,” a senior airline official told IANS.
According to the official, the airline will put out advertisements for a walk-in-interview for pilots with specific skill set.
“We will like to hire more co-pilots, as we already have a pool of well qualified executive pilots. The process of wage negotiation, clearances from the regulator will take nearly three months, but by that time we will already have a robust manpower.”
Airline industry experts feel that it will take nearly five to six months for Air India to fully resume operations on its 27 international destinations.
The airline currently plans to hire nearly 90-100 pilots on contractual basis that ranges from one-three years time.
Hiring of new pilots may also reduce the salary burden faced by the airline, as under contractual terms the pay packages and perks will be negotiable.
The development will also mean that a section of 101 sacked pilots out of 400 agitating aviators, who have been on strike for the last 30 days, would now have to either resign or apply afresh for resuming their post.
“We earlier asked them (pilots) to come back and said that no one will be victimised. We had even given a chance to sacked pilots that they can also come back and we will take them back on a case-by-case basis. But after the process starts, either they have to come back or apply afresh,” the official said.