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As Indian carriers look to increase their aircraft fleet and expand jet numbers, it is crucial that airlines are positioned to attract and retain pilots in a highly competitive market fueled by resurgent demand for air travel.

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In a race to bring pilots onboard, India’s newest airline Akasa Air has reportedly raised pilots’ salary by up to 40% amid Tata-owned Air India and budget carrier IndiGo’s massive expansion plans with orders for hundreds of new aircraft.

Effective from July onwards, senior first officers will get $4,145 per month versus the current $3,353. Senior captains will earn $7,621 per month up from $7,011.

The airline’s decision to implement the substantial salary hike is indicative of its ambitious plans to launch international operations later this year with a fleet of 72 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, with intentions to expand to 100 aircraft by 2025. It has also ordered four additional Boeing 737-8 jets, which are to be delivered in the next four years

The pay could be much higher depending on the pilot’s experience and flying hours. A captain can earn $9,450 at the maximum limit of 60 hours per month, which is about 6% more than the current $8,877 per month. As per its new pay structure, Akasa Air will also revise its fixed pay hours from 45 hours to 40 hours.

Earlier, Air India hiked salaries by 20% in April and SpiceJet announced a rise in salary in May. Last month, even cash-strapped airline Go First said it would raise captains’ monthly salaries by $1,211 during the ongoing insolvency proceedings that has forced the airline to temporarily suspend its operations since May 3.

Cleartrip Appoints Ganesh Ramaswamy as Chief Product and Technology Officer 

Online travel agency Cleartrip has onboarded Ganesh Ramaswamy as its Chief Product and Technology Officer. In his new role, Ramaswamy will spearhead the company’s product vision, strategy, and technology platform to accelerate innovation, Cleartrip said in a release. 

He joins Cleartrip from Flipkart, where he spent four years shaping the product and engineering charter in the supply chain fulfillment and services group. In the past, he was part of Yahoo, leading teams in advertisement systems and data systems. Following that, he joined GwynnieBee/Caastle, a clothing-as-a-service start-up, where he led teams in data platforms and user retention. He also served as the head of product and engineering at Qikwell, a healthcare startup that was later acquired by healthcare company Practo. 

Cygnett Hotels & Resorts Unveils New Property in Assam

Midscale hospitality chain Cygnett Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of a 50-room Cygnett Inn Imperial Tezpur in the northeastern state of Assam. “Infrastructure development including highways and railway connectivity have been steadily improving in the northeast region. As tourist flow increases in this part of the country, the demand for branded hotels like ours is going to increase sharply,” said Sarbendra Sarkar, managing director of Cygnett Hotels and Resorts.

Additionally, boutique hotel brand The Postcard Hotel is set to open The Postcard in the state’s Durrung Estate, with 12 rooms on top of tea gardens.

With its recently-launched brands, Cygnett Villas and Cygnett Collections, the company is looking to open 18 properties in the current financial year. Last week, the hotel chain launched its budget segment brand, Cozzet Victoria in Bhubaneswar in the eastern state of Odisha.

IndiGo to Start Mumbai-Nairobi Daily Direct From August 5

Marking its foray into the African region, budget carrier IndiGo has opened bookings for daily non-stop flights between Mumbai and Nairobi, starting August 5. Almost two weeks back, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation granted permission to the airline to operate its flight services to the Kenyan capital, with effect from July 24.

“With India emerging as Kenya’s third largest trading partner and witnessing increased investments, this new air route will further enhance our economic ties too,” said Vinay Malhotra, head of global sales at IndiGo. 

Early this month, in an exclusive interview with Skift, IndiGo CEO Pieter Elbers announced the airline’s plans to launch air services to Nairobi, Jakarta and some Central Asian countries as part of its international expansion plans. IndiGo also received the regulator’s nod to start operations between Delhi and Tbilisi in Georgia from August 7

Collinson’s Priority Pass Access India Partners With National Payments Corporation of India 

Airport lounge access program Priority Pass Access India, owned and operated by Collinson, has partnered with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to enable eligible RuPay — a product of NPCI — cardholders in the country to access over 50 premium lounges and airport experiences across all major cities. Additionally, eligible cardholders of RuPay will also enjoy access to a network of railway lounges in India.

“With India witnessing a travel rebound that is over and above pre-Covid levels, we are thrilled to partner with NPCI, the umbrella organization that powers retail payments in India, to provide a strong travel-experience focused proposition to RuPay’s traveling customers,” said Sumit Prakash, country director of India and South Asia at Collinson.

Solo Travel, Shorter Trips Gain Popularity This Monsoon 

Booking data from online travel company Ixigo indicates solo traveler bookings in 2023 witnessed a 62% increase compared to last year. Another interesting trend is that a majority of travelers (41%) are now looking for shorter trips this monsoon, typically lasting one to three days, Ixigo data revealed.

Bengaluru, Goa, Srinagar, Coorg and Pune emerged as the top domestic destinations for monsoon travel while Bangkok, Singapore and Dubai have stood out as popular international choices

In another development, digital travel platform Agoda has revealed a 5x (410%) hike in monsoon travel searches, contrasted to 2019 statistics. Goa, Manali, Ooty, Nainital and Mumbai topped the charts among the most preferred domestic destinations. Internationally, Bali, Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai and Phuket emerged as top favorites.

The monsoon season, known as a lean season compared to summer and winter, offers more affordable travel options for those who have been dealing with high airfares throughout the year. 

Tata Power, Le Roi Hotels Partner to Install EV Charging Stations

India-based power company Tata Power has partnered with budget hotel chain Le Roi Hotels and Resorts to install electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure across their hotels at various locations in the country. Tata Power will install 16 chargers spread across eight locations — in Udaipur, Digha, Haridwar, Jammu, Tehri, Raipur, Corbett and Koti. There will be a balanced distribution of eight fast DC (CCS-II) chargers and eight AC (Type II) chargers, offering a comprehensive range of charging solutions for electric vehicle owners, it said in a statement. 

Last September, Radisson Hotel Group inaugurated its EV chargers in partnership with EV startup SunFuel at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Delhi Airport. Earlier in March this year, India-based heritage hotel chain WelcomHeritage Hotels also partnered with SunFuel to install charging stations across its hotels in the country.


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Tags: agoda, airport lounges, akasa air, cleartrip, collinson, digital payments, india, indigo, ixigo, priority pass, skift india report

Photo credit: Akasa Air plans to launch international operations later this year. ca350 / 737-8 MAX, Akasa Air, VT-YAD (MSN 60717/7866)

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