In what could be termed as a big setback to Air India’s international plans, at least 8 Senior Boeing Dreamliner pilots have either left or are serving their notice period. Given that the airline is pushing ahead with managing its international operation on the back of the 27 Boeing 787s it has on order, losing senior pilots at this critical juncture can prove to be an expensive disaster. The pilots seem to be headed for greener pastures at Spicejet which has recently bounced back after its own fair share of troubles and given it operates a Boeing fleet the pilots make a good fit. Another reason for he pilots choice is attributed to the move of Mr SP Puri who was earlier with Air India, it seems his charm offensive to pull the pilots has worked and it’s left Air India in a state of shock.
Given the huge amounts of investments to the tune of $800-900k that need to be made in training pilots and also for time lost when they are training instead of flying. It’s a shocker that the airline has had no clauses in place in its pilot contracts that would bind them with the airline for a certain period of time or make them pay up for the training and associated costs if they left early. The airline has already fallen behind on its restructuring plan targets and is now facing a double whammy with losing pilots and crew. If this sorry state of affairs continues for long there is little hope that the airline may ever be able to achieve the glory of its heydays when it was considered as one of the best airlines in the sky with the first airline to have an all jet fleet. Constant dependence on state aid and bureaucratic interference is equally to blame for this mess of a wonderful airline. What remains to be seen is whether it can ever get out of it like a phoenix or die a slow painful death due to state apathy.