Free Press Journal

Indian airlines urge govt to prevent ‘poaching’ of workforce

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New Delhi: Flagging its concern over “rampant poaching” of skilled workforce including engineers and cabin crew by global carriers, primarily the cash-rich Gulf airlines, the domestic airline industry has urged the government to formulate some regulations to tackle the issue.

The industry has also sought the government to intervene to prevent the migration of domestic pilots, who are weaned away by these airlines with “un-matching” salary packages, by incorporating some additional riders while negotiating air services agreements with other countries, sources said.

“Of late, there is a lot migration of engineers, pilots and ground handling workforce from India to the Middle East countries and if this trend is not arrested, the domestic airlines may face shortage of such skilled labour,” the industry sources told PTI here.


Pointing out that unlike in the case of pilots, where the aviation regulator has made it mandatory for them to serve a six-month notice period prior to joining other carriers, the sources said there were no such regulations for engineers and cabin crew at present.

“We have written to the DGCA to formulate some civil aviation requirement (CAR) on similar lines to check this menace. The industry is fast losing such skilled work force to the gulf-based airlines. If steps are not taken, the Indian airline might face shortage of these categories of employees in the near future,” they said.

Lamenting that retaining pilots is also not very easy, the sources said that though the DGCA regulations make it mandatory for pilots to serve their airline for six months before joining the new employer, they are most of the times bought over by these carriers because of their “deep pockets”.

“We want the government to address this issue as well. We have suggested to the government to incorporate specific riders in traffic bilateral or air services agreements to this effect with these countries, making it mandatory for them to honour such regulations,” the sources said.

Interestingly, budget carrier SpiceJet recently hiked the salary packages of the pilots of its Bombardier Q-400 fleet to prevent their flight to foreign carriers.