Go First exodus: ‘Large rush of pilots’ leads AI to extend its Gurgaon walk-in interview

NEW DELHI: Air India has been forced to extend its walk-in interview for pilots of Airbus A320 —the aircraft type used by Go First— due to the exodus from this airline that has cancelled all its flights since May 3. While the Gurgaon walk-in was announced for Thursday and Friday, almost 250 pilots turned up early on Saturday morning at the interview venue. Bengaluru, where similar walk-ins are being held, saw over 100 pilots on Saturday. And Mumbai will host this on Sunday. AI has got over 700 pilot applications in past few days.
IndiGo is seeing a similar deluge of applications. The low cost carrier had hired over 150 pilots in its road show last month. “We are getting calls from hundreds of crew members for jobs,” a senior IndiGo official said. All few weeks back, both the fast-expanding airlines were desperately looking for crew members. Now with airline tottering on the brink of collapse, large number of experienced people are looking for jobs. Go has about 740 pilots.

An AI official said: “An unprecedented rush of candidates eager to give wings to their flying dreams was seen at the walk-in interview for pilots at (the venue) in Gurugram. Long queues leading to the venue swelled up from early this morning for the recruitment drive of A320 rated pilots much before the scheduled commencement of the proceedings. Along with the interview scheduled at Mumbai tomorrow, a call was taken to extend the interview of Gurugram by a day in view of the unbridled enthusiasm amongst the potential candidates seen today.”
Airlines like Go First and SpiceJet have been delaying salaries for past several months. SpiceJet has been reportedly defaulting on statutory payments like PF and depositing tax deducted at source. Cases of both these airlines are in the National Company Law Tribunal. Go First has cancelled all flights since May 3 and lessors are making a beeline for repossessing their planes for the Wadia Group airline.

Pilots are now demanding that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) scrap its notice period policy for airlines that are regularly defaulting on timely payment of a substantial part of the salaries month after month. “A contract is a two-way street. We have to work as per our part of the commitment and the employer has to pay within a reasonable time every month. It is as simple as that. When the company does not keep its part of the commitment, the contract has already been breached and we should be able to leave without the notice period requirement,” said multiple pilots.
Given the fact that airline globally collapse every few years, with India being no exception, passengers also want the government to come up with some regulations to ensure they get their refunds when an airline goes belly up. “Till now India had only one well capitalised airline, IndiGo. Now with the entry of Tatas in a big way in the space, it is time to put consumer/travel agent protection at the forefront. Individual passengers and travel agents are still holding on to tickets of big erstwhile airlines like Jet and Kingfisher, what to talk of scores of small field ones, without any hope of refunds,” said a senior travel agent.
While the government has directed Go first to give refunds, it remains ot be seen if the airline can do so given the mounting number of cancelled flights.


Cash-strapped Go First cancels all flights till May 12, promises refunds

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