The Coimbatore-based Paramount Airways, the country’s only fully business class airline, has decided to hire 80 foreign pilots over thenext one year to meet the shortage of skilled local pilots.Paramount will also recruit 200 local pilots in the current year in a staggered manner. The company’s existing 100-pilot-strong team already comprises 40% expats. The new foreign pilots are likely to get packages of around Rs 3.5 lakh per month, including an accommodation allowance.
Paramount managing director M Thiagarajan said the company conducted interviews in Chennai last week for recruiting foreign as well as local pilots. The second phase of hiring will take place in July, he added.“We need more pilots as we are adding 10 aircraft to the existing fleet of six planes. We will increase services from the existing 1,800 flights to 2,500 flights per month by October,” said Mr Thiagarajan. India has about 1,000 foreign pilots working in domestic airlines.
Paramount forayed into eastern India last month, with flights to Kolkata, Guwahati and Agartala. It plans to add Shillong, Silchar, Imphal, Bhubaneswar, Ranchi and Cooch Behar to its network over the next year.Indian carriers have suffered a combined loss of Rs 10,000 crore last fiscal. Hit by slowing economic growth and high oil prices, the airline industry posted a drop of 10% in passenger traffic in the past fiscal year.
The airline launched operations in October 2005 and is the only profit-making local carrier hiring people at a time when full-service carriers such as Jet and Kingfisher are shedding pilots and cabin crew.