Private carriers seek cuts in salaries of pilots and engineers

Private Airlines (Salary cuts for Pilots and Engineers)

Private Airlines (Salary cuts for Pilots and Engineers)


Mumbai: In a bid to cut costs and stay in the skies, beleaguered domestic airlines are finally paring the salaries of pilots and engineers, who were highly prized because there weren’t enough of them when many new private carriers started operations a few years ago. The private airlines are negotiating with pilots and engineers to lower their wages by 20-25%.
Leading West Asian carriers are sensing this as an opportunity to tap Indian pilots and engineers.
National Aviation Co. of India Ltd, or Nacil, that runs Air India, however, has no plans to lower pilots’ salaries. In fact, they have got a marginal raise following the revision of public sector salary following the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.
The domestic private carriers are trying to cut costs as they are expected to post a combined loss of $2 billion (around Rs10,000 crore) in this fiscal due to overcapacity and high jet fuel charges. Besides, pilots, especially the first officers or co-pilots, are increasingly a becoming surplus commodity as the carriers are cancelling or deferring the delivery of new aircraft and pulling out existing flights. A plane is steered by a commander and a co-pilot.
“The private airlines are renegotiating with pilots for cutting their salaries by 25%. They have, in fact, already started slashing allowances and other benefits,” said a senior pilot, who did not want to be identified considering the sensitivity of the issue. This pilot works with a leading private airline and is involved in the wage negotiations with his management.
Executives from three different airlines confirmed the development on condition of anonymity. “We are talking to them (the pilots and engineers) for a cut. If not a direct wage cut, we are trying to abolish some allowances,” one executive said.
Salaries of senior captains were in the range of Rs7-7.5 lakh a month in 2007-08 while the not-so-experienced captains used to draw Rs4.25-4.50 lakh. Salaries of co-pilots, or first officers, used to be Rs1.9-2 lakh a month.
None of the domestic carriers is keen on renewing the contract of foreign pilots as per the mandate by the ministry of civil aviation to phase them out by 2010. The ministry has laid down this norm to create more job opportunities for Indian pilots.
There are around 3,500 Indian pilots and 550 foreign pilots.


~ by anand213 on March 9, 2009.

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