Amid increased attempts by foreign airlines to poach highly-skilled commanders from India, budget carrier SpiceJet has doubled the notice period that its pilots need to serve when they leave, in a first for domestic airlines.
According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), pilots who resign are required to mandatorily serve a six-month notice period. SpiceJet has doubled the notice period to one year.
“We have introduced new contracts for pilots joining us, which require them to serve a year’s notice period. Also, co-pilots being promoted for command will also have to sign the new contract,” a SpiceJet official said.
“Airlines are in no way barred from introducing their own contract terms,” aviation expert Rajji Rai said. Indian carriers have lost over hundred pilots, mostly captains, to Gulf carriers, mainly Etihad and Qatar Airways, this year, HT reported on May 28.
“With India becoming the favourite hunting ground for cash-rich Gulf carriers in search of senior captains, Indian airlines have to devise new ways to stop the exodus,” Rai said.
State-owned Air India, which has seen 30 senior Dreamliner co-pilots resign in the past few months, has asked its B787-trained cockpit crew to sign a bond, which will make them liable to reimburse the training cost, if they leave before spending five years on the fleet. “In future, we plan to train only those pilots who first sign the bond,” an AI official said.