IndiGo Resumes Hiring With 32 New ATR-72 Pilots Being Appointed

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Indigo has become the 1st airline in the world to resume hiring with 32 new pilots appointed and 25 new aircraft being bought.

A report in Trak.in said that it seems that the clouds of the gloomy times are finally starting to disappear as being the first among airlines in the world to resume hiring since COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the aviation industry.

IndiGo Slashed Jobs by 10%

The report said that the pandemic had hit come sectors harder than the others and air travel was one of them as it wiped tens of thousands of jobs in this space. During this time, IndiGo had slashed its workforce by 10 per cent last year.

But now, showing a positive sign, it has issued offer letters to around 32 pilots for the ATR-72 fleet, according to company executives and media reports. The airline has also confirmed the delivery of the next set of 25 ATR-72 jets.

IndiGo also plans to induct around 10 planes by the end of this calendar year, further making it the largest regional fleet operator in India.

Indigo: A Positive Outlook

IndiGo’s Chief Executive Officer Ronojoy Dutta had said the company might start rehiring soon in December. “Doom and gloom is off the table, and we are recovering pretty nicely, especially domestically,” he was quoted as saying.

Another senior company executive said, “We want to plan ahead. Since there will be a steady induction of ATR-72 jets this year, we have to keep the pool of pilots ready,”.

Indigo had given priority to those pilots who had got an offer to join the company in December 2019 but were not inducted due to the impact of COVID-19. The airline is said to prefer Indian pilots rather than expats to bring down the salary bill.

It is not likely to restart hiring for the Airbus A320 family aircraft, which is the mainstay of its fleet. In 2020, IndiGo inducted around 44 aircraft which is by far the highest by any airline across the world.

But, all of them were replaced as the airline was phasing out hundreds of older aircraft. An executive was quoted as saying, “For the A320 aircraft, we don’t see any immediate requirement of pilots as the size of the fleet will remain the same.”

So far, the IndiGo spokesperson has refused to comment on the company’s hiring plans.

In addition to the hirings, IndiGo has signed a Cadet Pilot Program with Chimes Aviation Academy, as per which 15 cadets will be trained over the period of next 2-2.5 years and will then be inducted into IndiGo as pilots.

 

This is the seventh cadet pilot program partnership for IndiGo. Nearly 300 pilots have been inducted by IndiGo under the cadet pilot programs over last 8 years. These are the full training programs which commence from cadet selection until the stage where a cadet is ready to be inducted into an airline as a pilot.

A cadet pilot program with Chimes Aviation Academy will cost a candidate nearly Rs. 85 lakh including type-rating and commercial pilot license, Uday Punj, managing director, Chimes Aviation Academy was quoted by CNBC-TV18 as saying.

Civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola was the chief guest at the event. Mr. Kharola emphasised on the need for indigenous ecosystem for pilot training. It is important to note that Airports Authority of India (AAI) has already invited preliminary bids to set up flying training schools at six airports of the country.

“Every year we get about 700 CPL licensed pilots, out of which half are trained abroad. This raises concerns about what is lacking in us…why we cannot train all the pilots…we can make India a hub for pilot training and this is a low-hanging fruit that we can pluck…our pilots need to be trained in India,” Mr. Kharola said.

Mr. Kharola added that the culture of efficiency has come into the Indian aviation sector and in that, IndiGo, being the largest domestic airline, has been at the forefront.

While the aircraft and pilot induction program may have been slowed down during 2020 due to COVID-19, the long-term strategy has not changed, senior company executives at IndiGo indicated.

“We have about 265 aircraft and nearly 4,000 pilots in IndiGo today. We offer low fares, on-time culture and hassle-free service…We have learned to survive, things are looking brighter. Long-term plans have not changed.. load factors are getting higher…IndiGo is resilient,” Captain Ashim Mittra, senior vice president flight operations, IndiGo, said.

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