Due to its anticipated expansion, its merger with Vistara, and a major fleet expansion program, Air India has had to cope with several challenges pertaining to its cockpit crew department.
For future operations, this entails employing qualified and experienced pilots, who will then have their pay and seniority structures streamlined after the merger with Vistara. And that was the topic of recent town hall meetings held by both airlines.
Air India CEO Campbell Wilson and Vistara CEO Vinod Kannan
Campbell Wilson, the CEO of Air India, and Vinod Kannan, the CEO of Vistara, respectively, presided over two separate town hall sessions on Thursday. Senior pilots from both airlines’ HR departments as well as their executives were there, according to Business Standard. There were also representatives from Boston Consulting Group, which is advising Air India on the merger, in attendance.
The management of Air India suggested that a single, simpler pay structure based on the airline’s operational scope be used for all pilots, which was among the many topics that were brought up for discussion.
The impact of the merger on the seniority of Vistara pilots had been previously mentioned as a concern. In the most recent discussions, it was suggested that the cockpit crew follow a single master seniority list to determine their career progression.
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The quick network and fleet expansion and the assurance that lateral recruiting would be eschewed in favor of internal promotions also provided pilots with plenty of prospects for professional advancement.
Additionally, the airline intends to establish internal training facilities to accommodate the requirements of upcoming pilot growth projects. These facilities would comprise 20 full-flight simulators, 150 classrooms, and mock-up training infrastructure with AR/VR capabilities.
Business Standard has reported that there are still lingering questions from pilots, some of whom require more clarity on the criteria for fixing a single seniority list in all four airlines (Air India, Vistara, AIX Connect, and Air India Express).
With its privatization, Air India is now on a trajectory it hasn’t experienced in a very long time. After being poorly managed by the government, it is now being fixed by a private management team that is reorganizing its fleet and network and addressing operating problems.
Airbus and Boeing
The airline currently has more aircraft in the air than it had a year ago, and hundreds more will join in the next five to ten years. Hiring qualified pilots for upcoming operations is one of its top goals, but recent attempts to hire foreign cockpit crew for its Boeing 777 aircraft have encountered some resistance from current pilots.
The airline recently announced that it will hire 900 pilots in 2023 as a result of its sizable 470-plane order from Airbus and Boeing, thus these concerns still appear to be growing pains for the company.
A 15-week training program, which will include both classroom and in-flight training at Air India’s training facility in Mumbai, as well as familiarisation flights, will be provided to the over 4,200 flight attendants that the airline plans to hire this year as part of its massive recruitment drive for cabin crew.
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