Budget airline SpiceJet, in the middle of a turnaround, has decided to bring the salaries of its Bombardier Q400 pilots on par with those who fly Boeing 737 planes.
Airline sources said one reason to increase pilot salaries was to counter the increased attempts by Gulf carriers such as Etihad and Qatar Airways to poach highly-skilled commanders.
The move, which comes on the tenth anniversary of the Ajay Singh-promoted airline, is likely to cost the airline about Rs 50 lakh a month. SpiceJet has about 100 Q400 pilots in a total of 450; the decision to buy Bombardiers was taken when Kalanithi Maran was at the helm of the airline.
The industry’s average monthly salary for senior commanders is Rs 5.5 lakh.
“This was a long standing grievance of our Q400 pilots and the decision to increase their salary was taken by our new promoter Ajay Singh who thought it was a very valid and genuine demand. A pilot is a pilot and it does not matter which aircraft he or she flies. This difference (in salaries) shouldn’t have been there from the very beginning,” one official said.
SpiceJet has also announced the creation of a pilot benevolent fund.