In the past three to four months, Air India has lost about 120 experienced A320 first officers who had been employed on contract. Most of them have been serving their notice period of six months. Unsatisfactory pay and lack of growth opportunities are the main reasons for the dissatisfaction of these first officers, who have been trained by Air India. Also, with plenty of job offers waiting for them out there, these officers see no reason to stay back.
It is unfortunate that the crew members who joined the airline with merely 250 hours of experience should leave after clocking over 3000 hours and gaining so much experience. The time and effort put in by Air India to train these officers has been brought to nought. The carrier presently has 2000 A320 first officers on contract.
According to senior officials, these pilots are rarely paid on time and that makes it difficult for them to pay off the heavy loans that they have taken, not just for training as well as for personal reasons. Also, it is standard practice for a first officer to become a commander in three years’ time. However, at Air India, these first officers do not have any hope of being promoted for the next five years.
Other grievances include lack of housing facilities. While the permanent employees get more leaves and also enjoy housing facility, the ones on contract are not offered the same. Even the number of free tickets offered to their family members is a lot limited as compared to the permanent crew.