Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pilots crying over pay cuts? Aviation isn't half as badly hit as the IT cos

At a time when we hear of job losses in information technology sector, there is news coming from the aviation sector which points to a similar downturn.

After asking its junior pilots to take a 30 percent pay cut, Jet Airways has now requested junior pilots to furnish surety bonds worth Rs 1 crore and serve the airline for at least five to seven years.

Earlier Jet Airways had asked its junior pilots to take 10 days leave every month, resulting in a 30 percent pay cut. Reports say that the trainee pilots will now be asked to furnish surety bonds worth Rs 1 crore. The junior pilots will have to serve the airline for 5-7 years and face encashment of the bond in case of failure to serve that tenure. The airline company employs more than 200 junior pilots, including those undergoing training.

Unlike IT sector, the pilots need to be thankful that they at least have a job, albeit their bank accounts are not swelling as they used to.

However, there is a market anomaly here. India with a growth of over 17 percent is one of the fastest growing airline market globally. Almost every airline company in the country has announced fleet expansion. In such a condition it is natural to expect that pilots will have no problem in getting hired and finding a plane to fly.

But pilots are suffering from supply side problems. Apart from the traditional route of getting a pilot licence from international courses, there are a number of private schools that have opened up in India which add to the number of candidates entering the market with a pilot licence.

Candidates with pilot licence have been known to wait for years and taking odd jobs including working with airlines as pursers in the hope that they will get a chance to be called by airline companies to work as junior pilots.

Added to the problem is the availability of foreign pilots in the country. Many airlines use the services of foreign pilots who have clocked in the required flying hours for new aircraft.
24/07/17 Shishir Asthana/Moneycontrol