Air India chief Campbell Wilson has said that the airline is hiring 550 cabin crew members and 50 pilots every month and also expects to have six wide-body A350 planes in its fleet by the end of this year.
After taking over the reins from the government in January last year, Tata group has put in place various measures to turn around the fortunes of the loss-making carrier, including placing the largest order for 470 planes.
Talking about hiring plans, Wilson, the managing director and CEO, said there is no target, but about 550 cabin crew members and 50 pilots are coming in and trained every month.
“In the case of cabin crew members, it is about ten times and in the case of pilots, it is about five times on an annual rate of the pre-privatised airline,” he said.
According to him, this pace of hiring will continue for most of this year, taper off by the end of this year and accelerate again towards the end of 2024.
Against the backdrop of the process of merging Air India Express and AirAsia India (now known as AIX Connect), and Vistara with Air India, Wilson said they are also sensitive to the consolidation that is subject to regulatory approvals.
“The first narrow-body aircraft will come around July or August. The first wide-body aircraft (A350) will come around October,” Wilson said about the induction plans from the order placed for 470 planes earlier this year.
The airline expects to have six A350 and eight B777 aircraft by the end of this year. So far, the carrier has taken 9 B777 planes on lease.
According to Wilson, the true transformation will happen from next year onwards as it will get all the leased aircraft, start retrofitting old aircraft and deliveries from orders for 470 planes.