In line with its rapid fleet and network expansion plans, Air India is planning to hire over 900 pilots and 4,200 cabin crew trainees this year. The Tata Group airline is also looking to step up hiring of pilots and maintenance engineers going forward.
Tata Group-owned Air India has reported that it planned to hire over 4,200 cabin crew and 900 pilots in 2023, as part of a major revamp that saw the carrier seal orders for a record 470 jets earlier this month.
The overhaul at Air India, once known for its stellar service, started after it returned to the Tata Group’s fold last year, seeking to repair its reputation that declined in the mid-2000s as financial troubles mounted.
The airline, aiming to capitalise on India’s growing base of fliers and strong demand for air travel, earlier this month sealed a record deal for the new planes from Airbus and Boeing.
The airline had recruited over 1,900 cabin crew between May 2022 and February 2023, it said in Friday’s statement.
“We are also looking to step up hiring of more pilots and maintenance engineers,” said Sandeep Verma, head of the airline’s in-flight services.
The airline was in the spotlight last month after the aviation regulator penalized it for the handling of an unruly passenger on one of its flights. Air India de-rostered one pilot and four cabin crew as part of its investigation.
The current combined fleet size of Air India and Air India Express is estimated at 140 planes, with the majority being narrow-body aircraft. Of the 470 planes ordered by the airline, 70 are wide-body planes while 400 are single-aisle aircraft. Air India expects to take the delivery of 31 of the ordered aircraft this year itself.
The Air India group, which would include a full-service carrier after merger of Air India and Vistara and a low-cost airline after the the merger of Air India Express and AirAsia India, would require thousands of pilots to operate its expanded fleet once all the ordered aircraft are delivered. Some reports have pegged the requirement at over 6,500 pilots.
Ever since Air India returned to the Tata Group a little over a year ago, the new owners have been focused on sprucing up the product offering, while also planning an extensive expansion for the airline. A five-year roadmap – Vihaan.AI – was prepared with the objective of substantially growing the airline’s network and fleet in a bid to put it on a “path to sustained growth, profitability, and market leadership”.