Air India considers hiring retired pilots to bolster staff amid plans for a big jet order

The loss making airline was taken over by Tata Sons in January

Air India is preparing for a revamp under new chief executive Campbell Wilson, who led Singapore Airlines’s budget unit. Reuters
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Air India is considering hiring retired pilots, according to an airline official, as the loss-making carrier seeks to increase staffing to prepare for one of the largest aircraft orders in commercial aviation history.

The former state-run airline reached out to retired pilots, asking if they would be willing to opt for an extension if offered, the official said, declining to elaborate.

A representative for Air India did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Air India’s move to increase manpower comes as the carrier, which was taken over by Tata Sons in January, is considering ordering 300 Airbus SE A320neo jets or Boeing’s 737 Max models, or a mix of both, Bloomberg News reported this month.

Air India is in line for a revamp under new chief executive Campbell Wilson, who led Singapore Airlines’s budget unit.

Tata Sons has assigned 150 billion rupees ($1.9bn) to revive Air India and there will be visible progress in 12 to 24 months, chairman N Chandrasekaran told the Economic Times newspaper this month.

The salt-to-software conglomerate is working on the airline’s fleet, ground handling, network planning, IT systems, maintenance and training, he said.

The Press Trust of India had reported that Air India informed retired pilots they are being considered for contracts for the role of commander for five years or until the age of 65, whichever is earlier, quoting Vikas Gupta, the airline’s deputy general manager for personnel.

Updated: June 26, 2022, 3:30 AM
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