Tata Group-owned Air India has offered to re-hire pilots post their retirement for a five-year period as the airline looks for stability in operations amid talk of acquiring 300 single-aisle planes, according to internal communication.
Air India is considering re-hiring these pilots as commanders, it 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, shortage of adequately trained pilots in the domestic aviation industry has always been an issue. Interested pilots have been told to submit their details along with a written consent by June 23, as per an internal e-mail. Tata Group took control of Air India on January 27 this year after successfully winning the bid for the airline in October last year.
The retirement age for pilots in Air India is 58 like all other employees of the airline. Prior to 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. However, pilots at other private airlines fly until they reach the age of 65 years.