In an unexpected turn of events, about five pilots of the soon to be launched Tata Sons’ low-cost carrier JV with AirAsia have quit to join what will be its biggest competition in domestic skies — IndiGo. AirAsia India, which is looking at starting operations next month, may now have to hire more pilots.
When contacted, AirAsia India did not comment. An IndiGo official said, “We have a lot of colleagues joining us from various places. It (AirAsia India pilots joining us) is no big deal. We provide respect and recognition along with rewards.” India’s existing airlines, mainly those with Airbus A-320 fleet like Air India (domestic), IndiGo and GoAir, are fearing large scale poaching by Tata Sons JV airlines with AirAsia, and Singapore Airlines that are likely to operate the same plane. In addition, pilots of grounded since October 2012 Kingfisher — which also operated A-320s — were also eying these airlines for jobs. Disgruntled pilots of AI were expected to queue up to join these two airlines.
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