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Kingfisher Links Pilots’ Salaries To Flying Hours

Posted in Cockpit Crew News, Kingfisher AirlinesNo comments

Kingfisher Airlines, the two-year-old private airline promoted by liquor conglomerate UB, has decided to replace its pilots’ gross salaries with a two-part pay structure based on the number of hours they fly.

The move could effectively lower pilot salaries. The airline has a crew of 480 pilots. Forty of these are expatriates under contract who are, therefore, outside the purview of the new policy.

The new salary structure will have a basic salary and an additional flying allowance which ranges from Rs 600 to Rs 1,300 per flying hour, depending on the pilot’s seniority. The new structure will come into effect from January 1, 2009. Company sources said pilots were informed of this development in an email from Kingfisher Chairman Vijay Mallya more than a fortnight ago.

“In order to ensure optimum utilisation of the KF (Kingfisher) Fleet and its Pilots, I am extending the concept of hourly pay, as is already prevalent in the erstwhile DN (Deccan, now Kingfisher Red), for the purpose of salary alignment of pilots of Kingfisher Airlines as a whole which will further assist the pilot integration process. The hourly pay concept is an internationally recognised compensation norm for pilots worldwide,” Mallya’ s email said.

Explaining the new pay plan, a Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson said the salary has been structured in such a way that those who fly for 70 hours will get more than their current earning. For instance, a commander flying a narrow-bodied aircraft used to get Rs 4.37 lakh as salary, on the assumption that he flew 70 hours a month.

“We were assured that amount whether we actually flew 70 hours or 10,” said a Kingfisher commander.

Under the new structure, the commander gets a monthly basic salary of Rs 3.5 lakh, and Rs 1,300 for every hour of flying he puts in Given the airline’s current fleet and flight operations, many pilots put in between 10 and 30 hours of flying, they would get around Rs 389,000 (at the most), about 10 per cent less than their earlier pay.

Commanders flying wide-bodied aircraft would get an additional salary of Rs 60,000. This has now fallen to Rs 52,500.

Going by the same calculations, co-pilot salaries would be hit by around 14 per cent.

Pilots taking, say, a month’s leave will earn only the basic salary.

About two months ago, Kingfisher, which incurred losses of Rs 483 crore in the second quarter of 2008-9, tied up with Jet for a resource-sharing arrangement and had cut salaries of some 50 trainee pilots by more than 75 per cent, from around Rs 90,000 to Rs 20,000 per month.

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