The share of India's largest domestic airline IndiGo fell up to 3.7% to ₹1,589 a piece on the BSE on Monday after report that many of its cabin crew members didn't report for duty on June 2 amid massive recruitment drives at rival airlines like Tata group-owned Air India, Jet Airways, and Akasa Air.
As many cabin crew members were found absent at the last moment, the entire operation of the airline was disturbed, affecting flights across India. Data showed IndiGo cancelled around 50 of the total 1,600 flights operated on Friday, while around 800-900 flights were delayed. Taking a strong cognizance, the aviation regulator DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) has now sought clarification from IndiGo on the nationwide flight delays, a news agency reported.
IndiGo is facing issues related to deep pay cuts and the prolonged pain of the pandemic. For some of the employees, especially those who joined IndiGo from the old Jet Airways that went bankrupt. They had been through a far longer period of pain, starting a couple of years before their erstwhile carrier downed its shutters.
Sudden activity on the hiring front in the aviation industry has made them hopeful of getting decent hikes and career progressions.
In May, Fortune India reported that April proved to be a particularly trying month for IndiGo. As the commanders and crew of the airline became fully aware of the details of the employee stock options (ESOPs) handed to senior management during a year when they coped with deep pay cuts and the prolonged pain of the pandemic, an uproar broke out.
IndiGo reacted to the pilot's protests by offering a salary increment of 8%, an action that added fuel to fire. The management looked at the hike as an increment, viewing the present salaries and contracts as the "new normal" with the post-Covid world a changed reality from the pre-Covid one. The pilots and crew, however, dismissed the 8% restoration of their old pay packages.
As pilots voiced their ire over various internal and external platforms, the management cracked down. Five pilots were suspended and they have since resigned, awaiting their no-objection certificates before applying elsewhere.
Meanwhile, hirings across rival airlines like Tata-owned Air India, revived Jet Airways and ace investor Rakesh Jhujhunwala's Akasa Air are going on in full swing. Akasa Air, which is aiming to become the country's biggest budget airline, is reportedly offering up to 80% higher salaries to pilots than rival airline SpiceJet. The airline plans to recruit about 300-350 cabin crew members by this financial year. Last month, it received the first of its 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in India. The delivery of Akasa Air’s first aircraft brings the airline closer to obtaining its air operator’s permit (AOP), which is required for it to launch commercial operations in the country.
The new player in the Indian aviation sector intends to operate a fleet of 72 Boeing 737 MAX aeroplanes, powered by CFM fuel-efficient, LEAP-1B engines, which are to be delivered over five years.
Jet received the DGCA licence on May 20 after the airline completed two sets of proving flights required for the clearance. The certificate allows an airline to operate its flights for commercial purposes. Earlier this year, Jet appointed Sanjiv Kapoor as chief executive officer (CEO) and roped in Vipula Gunatilleka as chief finance officer (CFO), Captain P.P. Singh as vice president of flight operations and accountable manager, Alphonso Dass as vice president of airports and airport training, Nakul Tuteja as vice president of human resources and administration, and Ronit Baugh as general manager and head of public relations and corporate communications.
Jet also invited job applications for various roles, including senior manager-finance, manager-cargo operations, assistant manager-cargo pricing, and deputy general manager-tech procurement. The carrier also opened recruitment for the positions, including deputy general manager and senior for schedule planning and systems and executive and senior executive of network planning.
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