Air India is in the process of hiring around 270 co-pilots in the reserved category, as per the report. It has also created a new post of Chief Pilot when it already has two similar positions, director of operations and executive director of operations being manned by two senior pilots.
However, Air India has defended this hiring plan and said, "Keeping this and operational requirements in view, a special recruitment drive is on and the airline is in the process for filling up the existing backlog of vacancies of pilots." They further added that no new jobs have been created.
Earlier in March this year, Air India had gone on another hiring spree and was planning to recruit 500 cabin crew staff. Considering the disinvestment process the company is going through currently, the hiring of such magnitude seems inappropriate. Even the financial health of Air India is not good as it debt stands at INR 51, 890 crores.
Air India already has a bloated workforce with 11,214 permanent employees as of December 2017. These include 2,056 on deputation to other companies and agencies. It also has 2,913 on contract and 2,661 on deputation from other group companies as per the government memorandum on privatization.
Its total personnel cost was INR 2,841.48 crores in 2016-17 which translates into average employee cost of Rs 21 lakh per annum. With that kind of inefficiencies, hiring more people will perhaps act as a deterrent for a new buyer.