AI Express to build its own resources in south
Air India’s low-cost subsidiary Air India Express has finally set out to build its own resources instead of relying on its parent company. Starting with recruitment of pilots with an offer of ‘hardship allowance’ of `1 lakh, AI Express is now building its own team of essential airline management and setting in motion its automation process for crew rostering and other functions.
A senior Air India source said that the management recently cleared the decks for its low-cost subsidiary to hire its own pilots. Until now, pilots were being sent from the parent company, mostly those based in Delhi. “The arrangement earlier was these Delhi based pilots were coming to our bases in South from where we mainly operate international flights. Expenses of their stay and tediousness of rostering them was huge. That was also being done because B737 trained pilots were few,” the source said.
But in a bid to now attract the requisite flying talent, AI Express has introduced the ‘hardship allowance’ of `1 lakh. “When we were trying to get pilots to relocate to our southern bases, their feedback was negative sighting the poor quality of life.
Hence to satisfy them we are offering a lakh to relocate and experience the life in these bases which are by no means lesser developed than a metro. The parent company was anyway incurring these in hotel accommodations so why not pass on the benefits to pilots?” said this source explaining the logic behind this new initiative. So while commanders get a salary of upto `5.5 lakh, the first officers have the incentives of joining has trainee pilots and finish the minimum hours of flying to become commanders.
“We are looking at hiring at least 30 pilots with five pilots in each of our bases like Tiruchy, Mangalore, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. This will set in motion a resource cycle whereby these pilots-in-command can become trainers and instructors and fulfil the gap we now have in training. At least 20 expat trainers left us in the recent past,” the source said.