Abu Dhabi-based Etihad is hiring around 22 pilots from Jet Airways for its Boeing-777 wide-body aircraft fleet. These pilots, who were previously flying Airbus A330s for Jet, will be based in Abu Dhabi for a minimum contract of one year (excluding four months of training). These pilots will get tax-free income, bonuses and a hike of about 30-40% on the current base salary of about R6-7 lakh a month.
Sources told FE an internal job notice has been sent to the pilots in Jet Airways on April 10. In all, 11 positions have been offered to captains (minimum 6,000 hours) and a similar number for co-pilots (minimum 1,000 hours) as well. The recruitment process is expected to be completed in May.
“Jet has excess pilots for its A330 fleet, so Etihad has offered them these positions. Some of the captains who have applied have 15,000-20,000 hours to their credit. Most likely, these pilots will be absorbed back in Jet once their contract with Etihad is over,” said a source.
Jet Airways, however, did not respond to an emailed questionnaire.
The move comes three months after Etihad had offered similar jobs to Air India pilots, with a promise of a fat pay hike. Incidentally, Etihad, which is in the mid of a massive expansion spree, had recently purchased five Boeing 777 LR (Long range) aircraft from Air India and may also buy three more of the same aircraft from the state-run carrier.
“Etihad is rapidly expanding operations and since it takes a long time on new aircraft deliveries, they are growing through acquisitions. In last few months, Etihad had held roadshows for pilots for narrow body and wide body aircraft in Delhi and Mumbai,” said an official.
Jet, in which Etihad picked up a 24% stake for over R2,000 crore in April last year, currently has 101 aircraft — 12 aircraft from the Airbus 330 family, 59 Boeing 737s, 10 Boeing 777s and 18 ATRs.
Jet is believed to have 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and around 50 Boeing 737 Max aircraft on order. On other hand, Etihad currently has a fleet of 94 planes, with a further 225 on order.
In the quarter ended December 31, 2013, Jet posted a net loss of R268 crore. The Jet Airways scrip on the BSE fell 2.75% to R273.80 on Monday