Tuesday, July 16, 2013

SpiceJet phases out expats on falling rupee

NEW DELHI: The falling rupee has made airlines act in an area where they have dragged their feet for years - phasing out expat pilots. Low cost carrier SpiceJet has brought down its number of expat pilots, all of whom are commanders, from over 100 a year ago to just 25 now. With an expat commander getting almost three times more than the average Indian commander's monthly pay of Rs 5 lakh, the airline is looking at saving Rs 90 crore per annum.

Even the remaining 25 expat commanders are set to be eased out by the end of this calendar year. Airline sources said the expats are now only for the Bombardier Q-400 aircraft, as being a new plane in India, there are not enough desi pilots for it. "The Boeing 737 fleet is being operated fully by Indian pilots for the past three months. We are now the only airline in India whose mainstay fleet is operated only by Indian pilots," said the source. Airlines spend more on expat pilots for mainly three reasons: They have to be paid in dollars apart from being provided with accommodation here and free return ticket to their home countries every few months. "We were trying to phase out expats as per the aviation regulator's guidelines but the rupee's fall made us expedite the process. We did that by speeding up the training process of our pilots," said sources.

All Indian airlines have a significant number of expat pilots despite the fact that thousands of commercial pilot license holders remain without a job even after spending up to Rs 30 lakh for training.

Source:   http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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