• Akasa Air has given its pilots a second salary hike this year as it tries to retain experienced cockpit crew amid increasing competition in the industry.
  • The latest salary revision includes monthly loyalty rewards and long-term incentives for the pilots.
  • Other airlines in India have also raised pilot salaries, as demand for experienced cockpit crew increases.

It wasn’t too long ago when Akasa Air hiked the salaries of its pilots. And now, another report has surfaced that the budget carrier has once again given salary increments to its cockpit crew amid increasing competition from other airlines to attract the best industry talent. Akasa, however, remains confident about its long-term plan, which also includes maintaining an adequate workforce.

Salary hike

Pilots of India’s low-cost carrier Akasa Air have been given another salary hike – their second this year. According to a report by businessline, as demand for experienced Boeing 737 captains is increasing in India, Akasa Air wants to retain its experienced cockpit crew.

The airline’s latest salary revision includes both short and long-term rewards. Akasa’s pilots can now expect a monthly loyalty reward of ₹100,000 ($1,204) and long-term incentives of ₹2.5 million ($30,000).

Akasa Air Boeing 737 MAX
Photo: Akasa Air

Get the latest aviation news straight to your inbox: Sign up for our newsletters today.

The monthly loyalty reward will be over and above the base pay for 40 hours, while the long-term incentive will be paid in three installments (15,25, and 60%) over a period of two years, from 2024 to 2026.

Not the first time

This isn’t the first time that Akasa has increased the remuneration of its cockpit crew. In September 2022, just weeks after starting operations, the carrier raised its pilots’ salaries by an average of 60%. That was a statement-making move by Akasa last year as it immediately catapulted it to the position of being the best-paying airline in India at that time, ahead of even established players like IndiGo.

Of course, other airlines have since then raised the salaries for their pilots, too, and Akasa also does not want to be left behind. In June this year, the airline increased its pilots’ salaries by up to 40%, with senior first officers getting ₹340,000 ($4,146) and senior captains ₹625,000 ($7,622) as starting monthly salaries.

Akasa Air Boeing 737 MAX
Photo: Akasa Air

This was also an attempt to listen to its pilots’ earlier concerns about not being able to reach expected hours of flying due to its relatively small fleet size and operations currently.

Retaining pilots

With Indian airlines expanding operations and fleet, demand for experienced pilots has skyrocketed again. For instance, when Go First announced bankruptcy in May, many of its pilots were quickly absorbed by competitor airlines.

There’s also a growing demand for Boeing 737 captains and senior pilots with the resurgence of the aircraft type with the likes of Akasa Air, Air India Express, and SpiceJet. And this seems to be one of the reasons for Akasa to keep its remuneration competitive. Businessline states that 19 of its pilots have left recently, and the carrier wants to prevent its cockpit crew from leaving. But Akasa CEO Vinay Dube is not too worried, with the report quoting him as saying,

“We have a 10 years plan that covers pilot recruitment, training and career upgrades. There is no long term impact (due to resignations) and we remain very confident about the future. We are planners and we plan for contingencies. You have to look at our track record. We have the lowest cancellation rate and best on time performance.”

Akasa Air Boeing 737 MAX
Photo: Akasa Air

Check out more Indian aviation news here.

As the aviation sector returns to normalcy after COVID and airlines return to profitability and expansion mode, pilots are once again in great demand. It seems that salary hikes like these will likely continue for some time.

What are your views on this? Please leave a comment below.

Source: businessline