Aviation

Air India hikes penalty for pilots leaving early to Rs 50 lakh

DELHI

Air India has hiked the penalty for pilots leaving the airline within five years of joining from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 50 lakh. The move is aimed at checking the mass exodus of pilots and ensuring the cash-strapped Maharaja recovers the cost it incurs on training them.

A batch of 25 fresh commercial pilot licence holders (CPL) joining the airline in the coming days will be made to sign a bond and give a bank guarantee that will collectively amount to Rs 50 lakh.

“We will soon make the combined bank guarantee-cum-bond amount Rs 50 lakh for type-rated pilots who join us and up to Rs 1 crore for non-type rated pilots,” AI chairman Ashwani Lohani told TOI. “This will be clearly mentioned in our future job ads.”

Non-type rated pilots are CPL holders who require additional training to be certified to fly an aircraft such as the Airbus A-320 or Boeing 737 in case of narrow bodies or B-777 or 787 and A-330 in case of wide bodies. Once trained and certified to fly a certain type of aircraft, pilots are called type-rated.

AI, which has about 1,500 pilots, has seen 173 of them resign in the past four years — that is, on average, almost four pilots leave the airline for greener pastures every month. A majority of those who have quit are from erstwhile Indian Airlines, which had a fleet of A-320. While 72 pilots of A-320 have quit since 2012, 38 pilots each of Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing 777, eight of Boeing 747 and 17 of Boeing 737 fleet quit between 2012 and October 2015.

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