Air India looks to overhaul pilots’ salaries, gets new CMD

  • Tushar Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 21, 2015 00:16 IST
Ashwani Lohani was appointed the new chief of Air India. (Picture credit: Facebook)

Salaries of Air India (AI) pilots are set for a complete overhaul with the national carrier recommending a policy of “fly more, earn more” in its final proposal submitted to the aviation ministry on rationalising the pay structure.

The airline also got a new CMD on Thursday— Ashwani Lohani, a 1980-batch Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers official.

The salary rejig will benefit the erstwhile Indian Airlines’ (IA) commanders the most as their pay, which have been much below market standards, would increase by around 25%, while several others may face significant deductions, said an official.

“We will restore the 25% cut in allowances. All pilots would get the same flying hour rate, irrespective of the aircraft they fly, and fixed monthly salary for 70 hours of flying,” he said. At present, wide-body pilots get salary for 80 hours of flying, while IA pilots get paid for 72 hours.

“AI’s pilot wage bill of Rs 1,000 crore will remain the same as it was before the 25% cut,” he added. “If pilots fly more, they will earn more. Commanders will be paid Rs 8,100 per hour for flying beyond 70 hours, and Rs 10,900 an hour beyond 90 hours. Pilots can make another Rs 1 lakh if they fly more.”

AI has proposed stiff penalties if a pilot is “unavailable” for a flight, or refuses to operate one.

Around a dozen allowances would stand abolished. As first reported by HT on June 18, pilots will also lose their fixed monthly dollar layover allowances of $1,500-$2,000, and would be paid for layovers based on the actual number of days spent abroad.

“Despite the raise, AI pilot salaries would be lower as compared to Jet Airways and much lower than IndiGo,” said another official.

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