Mumbai: The country's largest private carrier by market value, Jet Airways, is set to replace expat pilots with Indian pilots by the end of the current fiscal. This will be in conformity with the directive of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that all domestic airlines should have only Indian pilots by July 2010.
Out of a total of 1,100 pilots serving with Jet, at least 250 are expats.
According to airline sources, Jet discontinued the service of 32 foreign pilots last November. The contracts of nearly three dozen of these pilots will expire in October, and that of another lot in December. The rest of the contracts are due to expire by March next year.
Apart from meeting the DGCA directive, the phase out of expat pilots will also help the airline control costs.
Foreign pilots are paid a larger salary than their Indian counterparts with a foreign pilot, on an average, receiving a salary of Rs5 lakh a month, along with an accommodation allowance of Rs 2 lakh. This compares to a salary level of around Rs3.6 lakh a month for an Indian pilot.
Jet Airways has already reduced capacity by 20 per cent on domestic routes and by half on international routes over the last two quarters. The phasing out of pilots will now synergise with a cut in capacity.
The carrier has reported a net loss of Rs225 crore for the June quarter of the current fiscal against a profit of Rs143 crore in the corresponding period last year.