Air India, owned by the Tata Group, has offered to re-enlist pilots after retirement for a period of five years as the airline seeks stability in operations amid rumors of purchasing 300 aircraft with one aisle, according to an internal communication.
Air India is considering re-enlisting these pilots as commanders.
A senior official said the airline has sought permission from retired pilots for such a job.
The notice was sent to the pilots who retired up to three years ago, the official said.
This comes even as the full-service airline has rolled out a voluntary retirement plan for its employees, including cabin crew, while also recruiting fresh blood into the once state-controlled airline.
Pilots are the most expensive asset for an airline and are paid the highest when compared to other important positions such as cabin crew and aircraft maintenance technicians.
In addition, the shortage of adequately trained pilots in the domestic aviation industry has always been a problem.
“We are pleased to inform you that you are eligible for a post-retirement contract as a Commander with Air India for a period of 5 years or until you reach the age of 65, whichever is earlier,” Air India Deputy General Manager for Personnel, Vikas Gupta, said in an internal email.
“During the post-retirement contract period, you will be provided with the compensation and flight allowances, as permitted, as per Air India’s policy for such appointments,” he said.
Interested pilots have been told to submit their details along with a written consent by June 23, such as by email.
A question in this regard to the Air India spokesperson received no response.
Tata Group took control of Air India on January 27 this year after successfully winning the bid for the airline in October last year.
The retirement age for pilots in Air India is 58 like all other airline employees. Prior to the pandemic, Air India rehired its retired pilots on a contract basis, but the practice was discontinued after the end of March 2020. Such pilots’ contracts were also terminated to partially offset the impact of the pandemic.
However, pilots of other private airlines fly until they reach the age of 65.