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SpiceJet To Recruit More Pilots Soon

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Gurgaon-based no-frill carrier SpiceJet has decided to hire nearly a dozen pilots including foreign commanders, in a fortnight. SpiceJet CEO Sanjay Aggarwal confirmed the development.

He told ET: “We will hire around one dozen more pilots in December including expats,” Mr Aggarwal said. “We have seen expats are more efficient in some cases compared to Indian pilots. The airline has sent back a few Indian pilots due to unsatisfactory results. Local pilots are our first priority, but foreign hands are also welcome in our family,” he added.

It is learnt that SpiceJet will pay foreign pilots Rs 7 lakh per month, including accommodation allowance, double of what it offers its Indian pilots. SpiceJet employs 65-70 expat pilots.

SpiceJet needs more pilots as it is increasing capacity. It plans to increase flights by another 20% over the next two months. It plans to double the frequency in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai routes.

The daily flights will go up to 120 from the existing 98 in 20 cities by the end of this fiscal. The company has also retracted from its earlier decision of returning three aircraft.

SpiceJet’s market share increased from 9.5% in October to 10.8% in November, while its load factor jumped 4% to around 65%. The low-cost airline’s market share swelled from 12.8% in October to 14.7% in November.

“ The company is expected to return to the black with jet fuel prices getting cheaper,” Mr Aggarwal said. The company suffered a loss of nearly Rs 198 crore in Q2 this fiscal. Jet fuel prices have come down 50% in the past two quarters.

Industry experts said SpiceJet has managed to resolve its problems related to cash after the US-based investor WL Ross injected Rs 360 crore into it.

This may help the company in running its operations for at least one year without any cash problem. The domestic airline industry may double its fleet size to 600 aircraft by 2010, if the order placed by the carriers is anything to go by.

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