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SpiceJet hires 100 pilots, 400 cabin and technical staff from Jet Airways

Pranav Mukul
Jet Airways is presently under the management control of the SBI-led consortium of lenders, which has offered to offload between 32.1 per cent and 75 per cent stake to an eligible investor after evaluating all bids (Express Photo by Pradip Das)

After flag-carrier Air India picked up 150 cabin attendants from grounded Jet Airways, budget airline SpiceJet said on Friday that it has hired 100 pilots, 200 cabin crew and over 200 technical and airport staff from the collapsed airline. "As we expand and grow, we are giving first preference to those who have recently lost their jobs due to the unfortunate closure of Jet Airways," Ajay Singh, SpiceJet's chairman and managing director, said.

On Friday, The Indian Express reported Air India has almost completed hiring 150 cabin crew members from Jet Airways for its international operations on Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 aircraft.

"We will also induct a large number of planes in our fleet soon. SpiceJet is making all possible efforts to minimise passenger inconvenience and serve Indian customers who are finding it difficult to get seats in this busy season," Singh added.

Jet Airways is presently under the management control of the SBI-led consortium of lenders, which has offered to offload between 32.1 per cent and 75 per cent stake to an eligible investor after evaluating all bids. So far, the lenders have received expression of interest (EoI) from four-five parties. Qualified parties would be asked to submit binding bids, and the process is expected to conclude by May 10.

Read | As aviation sector bleeds, Reliance looks at Jet Airways and Air India

According to sources, a number of pilots and cabin attendants that have joined low-cost carriers like SpiceJet and IndiGo at a significant pay cut. One source said that about 260 pilots attended SpiceJet interviews in Mumbai last week. These included around 150 flight commanders type-rated for Boeing 737.

While SpiceJet operates the same workhorse as Jet Airways - the Boeing 737 narrowbody aircraft - for IndiGo, the induction of pilots is expected to take five to six months, during which the pilots will have to go through simulator training and an examination by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to acquire the permit to fly the Airbus A320 family of aircraft that the two carriers operate. Alongside pilots, Jet's cabin crew and ground staff are also being hired by various airlines.

As of March 31, 2017, Jet Airways had 2,000 pilots and around 4,000 cabin attendants on its rolls. Industry experts suggest that the glut of pilots created by Jet Airways' closure is expected to reduce dependence of Indian carriers on expatriate pilots - something that the government has been pushing the airlines to do.