Disinvestment-bound Air India plans to hire 500 cabin crew members as the national carrier prepares to induct more aircraft and meet new regulatory requirements, a senior official has said.
The government is working out the modalities for strategic stake sale in the loss-making airline, which reported a net loss of Rs 57.65 billion last financial year.
The official said the airline plans to hire 500 cabin crew to meet various requirements, including to comply with aviation regulator DGCA's revised norms wherein an airline should have a higher number of such staff.
Besides, more cabin crew would be required as more aircraft such as the A320 Neos are being inducted in the coming months, the official added.
"The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has put in place new norms, under which now flights, particularly on the ultra-long-haul routes should have a higher number of cabin crew. Besides, we are also expanding our operations by adding new aircraft such as the B777s and A320Neos," the official told PTI.
In addition, the normal attrition has also necessitated the hiring of the cabin crew, the official added. According to a public notice, the airline is looking to hire 500 male/female cabin crew for its Northern, Delhi and the Western regions on a "fixed term engagement basis".
It was in 2016 when Air India had hired last time cabin crew when it took on board 800 fresh faces in one of the largest hiring exercises in the industry.
The national airline has cabin crew strength of 3,500 at present.
The appointment would initially be for five years and to maintain a "wait list for future requirements", as per the Air India public notice. The airline plans to recruit 163 males and 337 females. Of the total vacancy, 270 are reserved for the ST/SC/OBC candidates.
As part of the turnaround plan, Air India has been taking various measures, including rationalisation of routes and enhanced utilisation of aircraft.
Air India along with its regional arm Alliance Air operates around 534 flights a day to domestic and international destinations. Of these, 34 flights are operated daily on ultra-long-haul routes such as New Delhi-San Francisco, Hyderabad-New Delhi-Chicago, New Delhi-Washington, New Delhi-New York and Mumbai-Newark, among others, according to the official.
Air India plans to recruit these 500 cabin crew by early next fiscal, the official said adding, "since we are hiring only trained staff, we hope them to join the duties by April-May."
The airline's total debt stood at Rs 484 billion in 2016-17, including Rs 173 billion towards aircraft acquisitions and working capital loan of Rs 310 billion.
In June 2017, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had given an in-principle approval for strategic disinvestment in the airline and its five subsidiaries. A panel of ministers, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, has also been set up.
The panel would decide on hiving off certain assets to a shell company, the entities to be offered for sale the during bidding process, quantum of disinvestment and the universe of bidders.