The last overseas flight of Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) took off from London to New Delhi on Tuesday. The airline, owned by tycoon Vijay Mallya, suspended its international flights till it returns to financial health. With the stoppage of the London flight, the airline's much-talked about wide-bodied A330 operations have come to a halt.
Following the grounding and surrendering of the A330 fleet, there are extra 36 captains and equal number of first officers (co-pilots). Though many of them have bagged jobs in foreign airlines, some could be jobless.
These A330-type rated pilots, who are in short supply in India, can replace foreign pilots working in the country under Foreign Aircrew Temporary Authorisation (Fata) licence. According to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) rules, Indian pilots should be given priority.
MUST READ:Will UB Group, Mallya relent to save Kingfisher?
Section seven of DGCA's Civil Aviation Requirement (Car) says: "An Indian air transport operator can be permitted to employ flight crew holding foreign licences issued by a contracting state of ICAO to operate Indian-registered aircraft till Indian flight crew are trained and acquire appropriate Indian licence and ratings."
DGCA rules also says, "Fata shall not be considered for any other reason except to overcome the shortage of type-rated pilots with scheduled and non-scheduled operators and to overcome shortage of instructors with flying clubs."
Going by this norm, the jobless Kingfisher pilots should be retained in India itself and currently only Jet Airways has an A330 fleet of 12 aircraft where Kingfisher pilots could be employed.
MUST READ:Kingfisher barely managing to stay in the air
Will Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal, arch-rival of Mallya, abide by DGCA rules?
Jet pilots are opposed to the idea as it would hinder their career. KFA pilots said they would join on contract, which could protect interests of Jet's Indian pilots.
"As per rules, foreign pilots should be relieved if resource is available. We are only seeking to replace them," said a KFA pilot.
But Jet pilots are apprehensive.
"They may join on contract now but will seek permanent service after two years. We will not allow it to happen. Many of them are junior to us and left the airline to make money. Now, they are seeking rehabilitation here. This will destabilise our hierarchy," said a senior captain of Jet.
Captain Girish Kaushik, a veteran pilot who recently retired from Jet, said that Indian pilots should be given priority but with a condition. "I personally feel that whenever there is an opportunity, jobless Indian pilots must be absorbed rather than hiring foreign pilots. But they cannot expect A-330 command instantly. They can join at junior level and fly Boeing 737," he said.
Courtesy: Mail Today