New Pilots

India's SpiceJet to hike salary of pilots by Rs 1 lakh

2016 09 30

By Saurabh Sinha

New Delhi: In an attempt to prevent poaching, low-cost carrier SpiceJet has decided to increase salary of its pilots by flat Rs 1 lakh.

Termed as "loyalty and continuity allowance", the raise comes at a time when 'old' Indian airlines are struggling to retain their pilots and stop them from switching over to either new airlines or Gulf carriers (which give tax-free salaries).

"SpiceJet has over 500 pilots and we raised their salary in one stroke on Thursday to bring them at par with the best in the industry. Pilots from other airlines can come to us," said a senior official. While a co-pilot and captain's monthly package is in the range of Rs 2-2.5 lakh and Rs 5-9 lakh respectively, this amount will go up by a lakh now.

Another SpiceJet official said the airline reported a profit of Rs 149 crore in the quarter ended June 30, 2016, up 104% from Rs 73 crore in the same period last year, and it wanted to share this with its pilots.

The salary hike comes three months after the LCC offered to buy luxury cars of up to Rs 25 lakh for its pilots and allowed them to retain the vehicle if they stayed with the airline for four years. SpiceJet plans to place a big order of planes, estimated to be around 100 aircraft. "At a time when we are going to increase our fleet size, we need to retain pilots," said the senior official.The fight to retain pilots has intensified in recent months. 'Old' airlines like IndiGo and Air India have asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to raise pilots' notice period from six months to a year. Pilots, cutting across all airlines, want the DGCA approved six-month notice period to be halved to three months. The new Tata airlines, including Vistara, are against raising the notice period.

SpiceJet plans to make use of the upcoming regional connectivity policy where the government will subsidise such flights. The LCC, along with AI subsidiary Alliance Air and Jet Airways has a fleet of turboprops which can be used for regional flying. "We need pilots and we will do all that required to retain them and attract more," said the SpiceJet official.


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