Pilot exodus: Kingfisher’s loss is gain for other airlines
There exists a severe shortage of senior captains in the Indian airline industry and to fill this gap the aviation regulator has allowed carriers to hire expat pilots. Tushar Srivastava reports. Air Sickindia Updated: Dec 05, 2011 22:33 IST
The pilot exodus seen in Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) off late, which has seen more than 130 pilots leave the airline, has come as good news for other carriers who had been forced to offer hefty bonuses to attract experienced commanders.
Low-cost carrier IndiGo was offering a joining bonus equivalent to seven months salary or around Rs 30 lakh to captains when it launched international operations in September.
IndiGo and another domestic airline, which too was offering a hefty joining bonus, have stopped offering the same since the KFA crisis broke out. IndiGo did not offer comments for the story. Aditya Ghosh, President, Indigo had said in June that they planned to hire 200 pilots in the next 18 months.
“Supply of experienced pilots especially commanders remains tight,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO of aviation consultancy firm, CAPA. “The short term situation has suddenly improved due to the uncertainty at KFA. We expect a serious skill shortage to surface by the end of 2012.”
“Who is going to offer bonuses when pilots are looking for jobs desperately? It was a good strategy, though, as that helped airlines get readymade commanders. They would have spent the same amount training a senior pilot if, in the first place, they were lucky enough to find experienced co-pilots,” said a senior captain.