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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Pawan Hans hires pilots, engineers for three choppers

Around 26 pilots quit Pawan Hans between December 2017 and July 2018 in the wake of the privatisation process, which first began in 2016.

mumbai Updated: Sep 14, 2019 03:28 IST
Neha LM Tripathi
Neha LM Tripathi
Mumbai
To overcome manpower crunch, the company had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the IAF in April last year, which was also aimed at higher utilisation of the fleet and also filling vacancies of pilots in view of the fleet-expansion plans of Pawan Hans.
To overcome manpower crunch, the company had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the IAF in April last year, which was also aimed at higher utilisation of the fleet and also filling vacancies of pilots in view of the fleet-expansion plans of Pawan Hans.(HT image)
         

The loss-making Pawan Hans, which is in the process to be privatised, is hiring pilots and engineers for its Russian-made three MI-172 helicopters of which only one is operational.

The recruitment follows an advertisement by the company to hire pilots on contract with all-inclusive emoluments of Rs 4.50 lakh per month. “Pawan Hans’ three MI-172 helicopters that usually fly in the hilly terrains require 12 pilots [four pilots per machine],” said a Pawan Hans official, on condition of anonymity. Currently, the company has two Russian pilots to operate the only operational MI-172.

A senior Pawan Hans pilot said, “Despite running into losses and in the process of being privatised, the company has been spending crores in hiring Indian Airforce [IAF] pilots and now they want to hire additional pilots for MI-172.”

“We cannot stop our operations due to the ongoing privatisation process. An IAF pilot takes at least a year to be trained. Hence, the IAF pilots are still being trained. Owing to a general shortage of pilots in the company, we want to hire pilots [in command] for all our other helicopters as well,” a senior PH management official.

Around 26 pilots quit Pawan Hans between December 2017 and July 2018 in the wake of the privatisation process, which first began in 2016.

“This resulted in shortage of pilots by 30%, raising questions whether the company will be able to operate its flight in Northeast under the government’s regional connectivity scheme in May 2018. These flights are yet to begin,” a senior PH pilot added.

To overcome manpower crunch, the company had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the IAF in April last year, which was also aimed at higher utilisation of the fleet and also filling vacancies of pilots in view of the fleet-expansion plans of Pawan Hans.

However, in June this year, Pawah Hans pilots — who had complained about IAF personnel being offered higher salaries despite working as their co-pilot — were asked to resign and join the company again on contractual basis at higher salaries. Senior Pawan Hans pilots, however, said the offer was not lucrative as it required them not only to sign the contract, but also forgo other benefits like provident fund, gratuity, medical insurance and pension eligibility.

First Published: Sep 14, 2019 01:08 IST