As the Tata Group-owned Air India airline looks for stability in operations amid talk of acquiring 300 single-aisle planes, the airline offers to re-hire pilots post their retirement for five years according to internal communication. Air India is considering re-hiring these pilots as commanders, it said. A senior official said the airline has sought the consent of retired pilots for such a job.
The communication has been sent to the pilots who retired up to three years back, the official said. This comes even as the full-service carrier rolled out a voluntary retirement scheme for its employees, including cabin crew, and at the same time recruiting the fresh blood in the once-state-controlled carrier as well.
Pilots are the most expensive asset for an airline and get paid the highest compared to other key roles such as cabin crew and aircraft maintenance engineers. Moreover, the shortage of adequately trained pilots in the domestic aviation industry has always been an issue.
“We are pleased to inform you are being considered for the post-retirement contract as commander in Air India for a period of 5 years or till you attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier,” Air India Deputy General Manager for Personnel, Vikas Gupta, said in an internal mail.
“During the period of the post-retirement contract, you will be paid the remuneration and flying allowances, as admissible, as per the policy of Air India to such appointments,” he stated. Interested pilots have been told to submit their details along with written consent by June 23, as per the mail. A query sent to the Air India spokesperson in this regard did not elicit a response.
The retirement age for pilots in Air India is 58 like all other employees of the airline. However, pilots at other private airlines fly until they reach the age of 65 years. Before the pandemic, Air India used to re-hire its retired pilots on contract but the practice was discontinued after late March 2020. The contracts of such pilots were also terminated to partially offset the impact of the pandemic.
Tata Group took control of Air India on January 27 this year after successfully winning the bid for the airline in October last year.
(With inputs from PTI)