MUMBAI- India’s youngest carrier, Akasa Air (QP), has announced a significant increase in pilots salary, with raises of up to 40%. This move comes as airlines witness a surge in aircraft orders and the need for more pilots in the industry.
The salary hike at Akasa Air is expected to spark salary increases at other carriers. They also strive to attract and retain pilots amidst the induction of new aircraft by Indian airlines and the hiring spree by Gulf carriers.
This marks a notable shift from the aviation industry’s pandemic-era struggles. Which led to salary cuts and job losses worldwide.
In April, Air India (AI) increased salaries by 20%. Further offered a faster career progression for its crew to address the demands of its significant aircraft order of 470 planes. Following suit, SpiceJet (SG) also raised salaries in May.
Akasa Air Hikes Pilots Salary
At Akasa Air, senior first officers will now start with a monthly salary of Rs 3.40 lakh, while senior captains will earn Rs 6.25 lakh beginning in July. These figures represent an increase from the current salaries of Rs 2.75 lakh and Rs 5.75 lakh, respectively.
Depending on experience and flight hours, the pay scale may be even higher. A captain can earn up to Rs 7.75 lakh per month, a 6% increase from the current Rs 7.28 lakh, when flying the maximum limit of 60 hours.
As part of the new pay structure, Akasa Air will revise its fixed pay hours from 45 to 40 hours. Pilots will receive a fixed salary for 40 hours of flying, and for every additional hour, captains will be paid Rs 7,500 and first officers Rs 3,045.
This adjustment was made in response to pilots’ concerns about the airline’s smaller size, which limited their ability to fly the expected hours and impacted their monthly take-home salary.
Expansion Plans and Pilot Requirements
Akasa Air’s CEO, Vinay Dube, emphasized the need for more pilots to support the airline’s rapid expansion.
Currently operating 19 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, the carrier plans to add 10 more planes to its fleet by March 2024. Typically, an airline requires 12 pilots per aircraft, including reserves.
The salary increase at Akasa Air is expected to have a ripple effect. Further prompting other Indian carriers to raise salaries in order to prevent attrition.
Air India Express (IX), which is also planning an expansion, recently held a meeting to assure its crew members of an improved salary structure.
Akasa Air’s pay package is approximately 8-10% higher than market leader IndiGo (6E)’s. Which previously implemented a salary cut of nearly 28% during the pandemic but has since reversed it.
Akasa Air is actively hiring pilots from Go First (G8), which has suspended operations since May 3.
The airline is also expediting the process of upgrading first officers to captains. With approximately 30 pilots being promoted each month. This move addresses the pilot shortage and serves as a retention policy for the company.
Positive Outlook for Akasa Air
The salary hike at Akasa Air, particularly for junior pilots, aims to secure the future of the airline by retaining and promoting talent within the organization.
With this increase, Akasa Air offers the best salary package for Boeing 737 pilots in the industry.
As Akasa Air continues to expand, it remains focused on attracting and retaining skilled pilots. Subsequently, to support its growth and provide exceptional service to passengers.
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