The government is considering a proposal to ban poaching of cockpit and cabin crew by rival airlines — a move is likely to help ailing national carrier Air India, which is currently facing a severe shortage of airhostesses, but may draw the ire of other airlines.
Mahesh Sharma, minister of state for civil aviation, indicated that his ministry could ask airlines to give an informal commitment against poaching cabin crew and pilots from each other. “We will call all the airlines for a meeting on this issue,” Sharma said on Thursday.
Aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, could be asked to frame guidelines on this matter, which has resulted in crippling shortage of trained manpower for airlines, he added.
“We will call all airlines for a meeting. And if still needed, DGCA will be asked to frame guidelines on this matter,” Sharma said.
The ministry’s move comes at a time when AI is facing a shortage of cabin crew, which has resulted in flight cancellations and delays and has forced the airline to hired retired crew on short-term contracts.
“This move (to ban poaching) will backfire,” aviation expert Subhash Goyal said. “The government should not be seen as aiding one airline.”
On airfares, Sharma said: “I feel there should be some limit....but then there are global guidelines on fares that we need to study. Airlines should not swing to extremes, this is gambling. We have started internal discussion on how to regulate prices.”
The aviation ministry had earlier mulled capping the maximum one-way fare on domestic routes at Rs 20,000 and devise a mechanism for calculating the minimum fare on each sector.
“Informal discussions on the issue (capping fares) are still on but the Centre does not want to be seen as regulating fares,” a source said.