Shortage of commanders was the main issue discussed at the board meeting of the budget airlines here, chaired by Rohit Nandan, Chairman and Managing Director of Air India and AIE chairman.
Nandan told reporters that of the AIE's requirement of 252 pilots, there are presently only 186 pilots and 60 are undergoing training.
Nandan said the AI and AIE will function as separate entities. AIE has to be on its own.
Earlier, pilots were being hired from AI on deputation to the AIE. The deputation period would be reduced and AIE will have to be on its own, he said.
"The umbilical chord between Air India and Air India Express will have to severed," he said, adding, AIE should have its own pilot force.
Fourteen new aircraft will be added to AIE's fleet strength in a three-year period. Presently, the airlines has 21 aircraft of which 17 are available at any point of time.
On AIE plans to launch domestic flights, Nandan said Air India wants AIE also to operate in the domestic sector.
"We want them to supplement our services that will happen only if the strength of pilots is augmented," he said.
There would be increase in the salary of pilots, captains, trainers working conditions and emoluments would be comparable to the best in the industry of existing pilots.
"In order to use the fleet of AIE optimally, the board discussed the issue of shortage of commanders. It was decided to take necessary measures to improve emoluments and working conditions to make it comparable with the best industry standards. This will ensure the continued service of existing commanders", Ansbert D'souza COO, AIE and Captain Pushpinder Singh, Deputy COO, AIE told reporters after the board meeting. MORE)