Jet hires US pilots | india | Hindustan Times
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Jet hires US pilots

Jet airways hired two American pilots for Rs 5 lakh a month on October 23, a move that has the airlines’ Indian pilots, facing salary cuts, up in arms, reports Soubhik Mitra.

india Updated: Oct 25, 2008 01:02 IST
Soubhik Mitra

Jet airways hired two American pilots for Rs 5 lakh a month on October 23, a move that has the airlines’ Indian pilots, facing salary cuts, up in arms.

The airline says that it has hired these pilots to fly ATRs — turbo-trop planes, small aircraft used on short-haul flights because there was a shortage of pilots in India who fly these planes.

“Due to a shortage of Indian Commanders on the ATR fleet, Jet Airways is compelled to hire foreign pilots,” said a statement from the airline.

On Friday morning Kenneth Roseman and Rulio Sulisto appeared for a clearance test at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in Delhi. When Hindustan Times spoke to seven Indian pilots with work experience between six months and four years, they said they were more than willing to fly these aircraft. None of them were willing to be identified.

“I am serving my probation with the airline. And, in the past two weeks I have been assigned flying duties of just eight hours because flights have been cut down. We are underutilised,” said a co-pilot with the airline. He spent Rs 25 lakh on training.

Another co-pilot with Jet said: “It would be foolish on our part to be choosy about the type of aircraft at a time when our jobs are on stake. The ATR experience would be useful in the long run.”

Experts agree. Veteran pilot captain Mohan Ranganathan said, “There are several Indian co-pilots in bigger planes waiting for upgradation. At this moment, they would be more than happy to be an ATR captain than being jobless.”