Friday, September 16, 2022

Indian pilots and cabin crew still struggle to negotiate salaries despite better airline operations

The Indian aviation industry, which has faced a number of challenges in the last few years, seems to have come out of it all unscathed. However, despite most airlines and airport operators in India eyeing growth and announcing expansion plans, most of India's pilots, cabin crew, and engineering fraternity are still struggling in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most pilots, cabin crew, and ground handling staff in India are underpaid and overworked compared to their international compatriots.

India's biggest airlines have still not restored the salaries of their employees to pre-COVID-19 levels, citing rise in fuel costs and limited domestic passenger operations.

While IndiGo is expected to restore salaries of its pilots, cabin crew, and ground handling staff to pre-COVID-19 levels by September, SpiceJet's employees have been struggling with delayed payments.

GoFirst's employees had also protested against low salaries in July, but were told to return to work and trust the airline.

Despite the entry of airlines like Akasa Air and Jet Airways into the Indian aviation space, salaries, and jobs of aviation personnel are not expected to rise for the next few years.

"Most aviation personnel in India are scared of losing their jobs after the collapse of Kingfisher and Jet Airways, which has given airlines in India the opportunity to hire people at much cheaper rates in the last few years," Lokesh Sharma, a senior aviation consultant, said.

He added that despite discontent among employees in aviation, most of them have spent considerable amounts of money to fund their training and can't afford to lose their jobs.

Another aviation consultant Praveen Paul said that Indian aviation employees prefer stability and job security and are therefore unwilling to fight for raises and less work in bigger airlines.

16/09/22 Yaruqhullah Khan/Moneycontrol

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