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With enticing offers, the crisis-hit carrier endeavors to hold on to its flying crew, who are increasingly considering alternative opportunities.

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Cash-strapped airline Go First said it would raise salaries in an effort to retain workers during the ongoing insolvency proceedings that has forced the airline to temporarily suspend its operations since May 3. It said it would raise captains’ monthly salaries by $1,211; first officers will get a $605 increase. The additional pay along with their existing salary, which the airline calls a retention allowance, will go into effect on June 1, Go Air said in an internal note. The airline has also offered the allowance for pilots who have recently resigned, but are willing to “withdraw their resignations by June 15.” Go First further noted that it would soon roll out a “longevity bonus” to reward its long-serving staff members. The note also added that “if things shape up as per the present progress and plan, it won’t be long before we will be flying again which will also enable us to be regular on salary payments.” On Monday, Go First discussed revival plans with the officials of Indian aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation where the airline’s management team presented the roadmap for the revival of operations. Last week, the regulator asked the crisis-hit airline to submit the status of availability of operational aircraft, pilots and other personnel, maintenance arrangements and funding, among other details. 

Online travel company Ixigo has recorded a nearly 5x growth in operating revenue from pre-pandemic levels, generating over $60 million. The company is targeting 40 percent revenue growth in financial year 2024 to scale its business to a projected $84.6 million. It claimed to be cash flow positive and said it has achieved an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization margin of more than 7 percent in the financial year 2023. Ixigo had filed the offer document of going public with Indian regulators to raise $200 million via an initial public offering in August 2021 and received approval three months later in December. The company, however, put the process on the backburner amid subdued market sentiment.

Tata Group-owned Air India is hiring 550 cabin crew members and 50 pilots every month, and also expects to have six widebody A350 planes in its fleet by the end of this year, said the airline’s CEO Campbell Wilson. He expects this pace of hiring will continue for most of this year, before tapering off and accelerating again towards the end of 2024. “It (the hiring pace) will match the induction of aircraft,” Wilson added. Earlier this month, he said that Air India and its low-cost carrier subsidiary Air India Express have together hired more than 3,900 people, including over 500 pilots and 2,400 cabin crew members, since the start of this year.

Australia and Worldwide Travel, an inbound tour operator and destination management company in the country, eyes strong growth potential in India. “Australia has witnessed a strong growth of Indian arrivals in the last few years. To leverage this growth, we needed to have a strong representation in India,” said Leon Ellas, managing partner of the company, which assigned travel services provider Global Destinations the mandate to build its sales and develop brand awareness in the India market. Around 100,300 short-term tourists from India visited Australia’s southeastern state Victoria in the year ending September 2022, as per the latest International Visitor Survey by Tourism Research Australia. Additionally, discussions are being initiated with at least three Indian carriers — Air India, Vistara and IndiGo — to start direct flights between India and Western Australia’s Perth.

Low-cost carrier IndiGo has partnered with payment technology platform Juspay to handle payments for all direct bookings on the airline’s app and website. The alliance will further enhance customer experience by improving payment conversions, and enabling a wider variety of payment modes. Juspay’s analytics engine consolidates and presents a comprehensive view of payment performance through an easy-to-use dashboard, enabling IndiGo’s team to effortlessly manage payment operations, such as adding multiple payment gateways, handling transaction routing rules, and overseeing refunds and reconciliations. The airline’s first widebody aircraft recently landed in New Delhi — showcasing its white and blue livery on the newly introduced Boeing 777 aircraft — servicing the Delhi-Istanbul route.

Pilots flying helicopters in the Himalayas will receive specialized training based on a more stringent set of rules to avert frequent accidents in the mountainous region, according to Indian aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s new guidelines. Four shrines in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand, known as Char Dham, are a popular pilgrimage undertaken between May and September every year. All four shrines are located at high altitudes where weather conditions can change rapidly. The regulator has introduced an additional hill check for pilots operating to helipads at 10,000 feet from this season. The watchdog has also mandated utilizing the activation of the Airborne Image Recording System, a system installed in a particular type of helicopter that allows the benefit of post flight analysis of flight parameters, ensuring compliance to standard operating procedures by pilots. 

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Tags: air india, destination marketing, dgca, hiring, india, indigo, ipo, ixigo, labor, pilot pay, pilot training, skift india report, tour operators

Photo credit: Source: Anna Zvereva/Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GoAir,_VT-WJF,_Airbus_A320-271N_%2833789251028%29.jpg Anna Zvereva / Wikimedia Commons

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