National carrier Air India, which has been battling a severe shortage of crew members for a year now, is ready to hire back the crew it had grounded for failing fitness tests, as per a media report.
Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar stated, “Right now our target is to recruit 1200 crew members. In the first phase a target of 400 has already been achieved. The concern is to fill up the posts. We don't want to say much on the physical standards aspect for now.”
The move comes as Air India had to cancel several flights over the last couple of weeks. Closure of Pakistani air space has also added to Air India's problems. Last month, Air India's management had asked all its 'inactive' cabin crew to report for duty so that flight cancellations could be minimized.
As per sources, over the last couple of weeks, the airlines made calls to at least 50 such grounded crew members informing them of the above decision. However, the move has angered the airline's union. Similarly, there are reports that Air India is also in the process of hiring retired employees on contract for various supervisory posts, something which has not gone down well with the employees, who want new hands to be recruited instead of using the services of retired staff.
Air India has about 2,200 crew members for domestic circles, out of which 800 are permanent. For international circles, there are 1,000 permanent cabin crew members and 1,800 are on contract. As per experts, the national carrier needs 4,000-5,000 more cabin crew staff.
Sydney-based consultant CAPA (Centre for Aviation) forecasts the current number of pilots in India at 7,963. In a decade, airlines will have to hire 17,164 more. Airlines are doing everything to fight this shortage. For instance, IndiGo is hiring more than 100 Boeing 737 commander level pilots, majorly those exiting the cash strapped Jet Airways. It has already hired about 130 expatriate pilots from all over the world is planning to take that count to 160 by June 2019.