Given the December 2016 deadline set by the DGCA to phase out expat pilots, Jet Airways has gone ahead and aggressively pink slipped almost 50 expat pilots till date. This is in line with the airline’s cost cutting plans to get in shape and stop bleeding cash. The airline has been undergoing restructuring in all its departments ever since Etihad PJSC bought a 24% stake in the troubled airline. The airline which has written off its JetLite subsidiary (formerly Air Sahara) is now pushing itself as a full service only airline to attract more corporate customers who are willing to spend more for the comfort factor. Given that India has only a handful of full service airlines, this could be a good positioning for the airline to get back into the black but it remains to be seen how it will be able rationalise the high operating costs that it is currently incurring.
Etihad has been positioning Jet Airways flights to feed into its network at Abu Dhabi hub for onward journeys especially from Tier-2 cities in India. With 88 more expat pilots to go we may see more pink slips being handed out by the airline or they may transfer of such pilots of Etihad Partners where they may be utilised. It would be interesting to note as to how Jet Airways intends to make up for the experience brought in by the expats in a situation where all the local talent is actively being poached by airlines with deep pockets. Lets see what Jet has in store for future.