Job loss scare driving Indian pilots to Gulf carriers

April 23rd, 2009 - 8:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) Salary cuts and job uncertainty are driving pilots in Indian carriers to greener pastures abroad, with as many as 25 pilots believed to be heading for the Gulf.
Pilots from Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines are expected to join leading Gulf carrier Qatar Airways.

Jet Airways said it has no information of its pilots quitting. “I don’t think there is any truth in it. We have not got any intimation of that sort from any pilot,” a spokesperson said.

The Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson was not available for comment.

Last October, Jet Airways had announced the retrenchment of about 1,900 employees after a strategic alliance with Kingfisher. It, however, took back the employees following widespread protests.

During the same period, senior Qatar Airways and Emirates Airlines officials announced massive expansion plans in India, saying the country was not only an important market but also an important source for personnel including crew.

“Forty percent of our team is from India. We will continue to keep adding people, as the current global turmoil has not affected our operations. Since we cater to a wide variety of countries, our crew should be able to speak multiple languages,” Naveen Chawla, the regional manager for India with the Qatari carrier had said then.

Orhan Abbas, the vice president for India and Nepal Emirates Airlines, had similarly told reporters here his company was looking for more people from India. “We will recruit more people as cabin crew and other operations especially from India.”

A senior executive with a Gulf-based carrier, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Indian pilots are looking at Gulf carriers as these were financially stable.

“Many airlines based in Gulf countries are doing well and several have strong presence in India. This is one of the reasons that we are hiring Indian pilots,” he said.

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