New Delhi: Jet Airways has handed over pink slips to 50 of its expat pilots by prematurely terminating their contracts as part of its cost-cutting measures as well as reducing dependency on the high-cost overseas flight crew.
"We have prematurely terminated the service contracts of 50 expatriate pilots between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015," Jet Airways acting chief financial officer Ravichandran Narayan said on a post-earnings analyst call.
As part of the contract obligations, the airline paid retrenchment compensation to the sacked pilots, he said.
Jet Airways has a total of 1,120 pilots. After termination of the service contracts of these 50 expats, the Naresh Goyal-promoted airline now has 88 foreign pilots.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India's civil aviation regulator, has also given the airlines a deadline of December 2016 to phase out expatriate pilots.
Speaking on measures taken by airline to contain cost, Mr Narayan said Jet Airways has taken several steps particularly in the areas like sales and distribution, engineering and maintenance.
"We are continuously improving our aircraft utilisation by adding more red-eye flights and early hour departures in our schedule," he said.
A red-eye flight departs late at night and arrives early next morning. Because of their very low priced tickets, these flights are quite popular abroad, especially in the US and Europe.
Mr Narayan also said the airline was in the process of restructuring its overseas hub at Abu Dhabi by rejigging some of the flights and withdrawing a few.
"We are restructuring our Abu Dhabi gateway by converting Goa-Abu Dhabi-Goa flight into seasonal one and cancelling the Abu Dhabi-Kuwait and Abu Dhabi-Dammam services," he said, adding that the airline has also decided to reduce the frequency from three daily flights to two on Mumbai-Bangkok route from July 15.
"We continue to rationalise our route network in line with the industry condition and traffic evolution," he added.