Air India aircraft

Tata Group is the largest and most highly profitable company in India. It recently became the new owner of Air India and has begun the process of restoring pilot and cabin crew salaries in light of the steep recovery of the commercial travel sector. 

A joyous payday

This Friday saw Tata Group begin this process as part of a wider restructuring of salaries and allowances to align them with those of its three other airlines, which includes full-service Indian airline Vistara.

The salaries of pilots and cabin crew were restored to almost 75% in total, a figure assumedly overdue but wholly welcomed by Air India staff. 

Pilots saw the company restore 20% of the flying allowance in the current phase. Special-pay pilots and wide-body allowances will be restored by 25%, which was cut by 40%. 

Salaries will be received in line with performance in the coming months. 

Air India’s Director of Personnel, Amrita Sharan, informed employees of the discontinuation of their pay cuts in a memo:

“As the hope of a post-pandemic world seems within each and the aviation sector takes off once again with some visible changes in our performance. We are happy to inform you that your salary cuts have been reviewed and the restoration of salaries will happen in a phased manner. The changes will be implemented with effect from April 1, 2022.”

Elsewhere in India’s aviation industry SpiceJet, India’s second-largest airline behind IndiGo, increased the salary of its captains by 10% and increased the salary of first officers by 15%. The increment in salary has been effective since March and will result in a total salary increase of 20%. 

IndiGo, India’s largest airline by fleet size and the number of passengers carried, faced disruption as pilots demanded the reversal of pay cuts in light of the demand for air travel increasing to and even beyond 2019 levels in some instances. 

Indigo A320 in Flight
An Indigo A320 in flight. IndiGo operates to 96 destinations, 25 of which are international. | © ARVIND S via Flickr

IndiGo ended up suspending five pilots after they planned a strike to disrupt operations in order to get the airline’s attention regarding ending the pay cuts. 

It is likely that IndiGo will follow Air India – unless they are willing to deal with further displays of discontent from its pilots. 

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