New Delhi: Air India, a Tata Group-owned airline, is set to hire over 1,000 pilots, including trainers and captains, as it expands its fleet and network. Currently, the airline has more than 1,800 pilots and has ordered 470 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing, including wide-body planes. The latest orders from Airbus consist of 210 A320/321 Neo/XLR and 40 A350-900/1000, while the Boeing order includes 190 737-Max, 20 787s, and 10 777s. In an advertisement released on Thursday, the airline stated that it is offering various opportunities and accelerated growth across its A320, B777, B787, and B737 fleet for captains, first officers, and trainers, as it expects to add over 500 aircraft to its fleet.
However, the decision to revamp the salary structure and service conditions for pilots and cabin crew has raised concerns among Air India’s pilots. On April 17, Air India rolled out a revised compensation structure, which the two pilot unions, Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) and Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), rejected on the grounds that the airline had allegedly violated labour practices by not consulting with them before finalizing the new contracts.
Tata Group currently owns four airlines, namely Air India, Air India Express, AIX Connect, and Vistara, which is a joint venture with Singapore Airlines. The group is in the process of merging Air India Express and AIX Connect, as well as Vistara, with Air India.
The expansion of Air India’s fleet and network is a positive development for the airline, especially after its acquisition by Tata Group in January 2022. The move to hire more pilots indicates that the company is gearing up to meet the growing demand for air travel and expand its reach to new destinations. However, the concerns raised by the pilots highlight the need for effective communication and consultation between the airline and its employees, especially with regard to changes in their compensation and working conditions.
Overall, Tata Group’s ownership of Air India and its other airlines presents an opportunity for the conglomerate to leverage its expertise and resources to improve the operations and competitiveness of these carriers. The merger of Air India with Vistara and Air India Express, and AIX Connect is also expected to result in a more streamlined and efficient airline that can better serve the needs of its customers.