Airlines start hiring as travel demand soars after pandemic

As travel demand picks up in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, recruitment by airlines in India is taking off for roles that include cabin crew and pilots.

Carriers including Air India, IndiGo, Vistara and AirAsia India are conducting fresh recruitment drives to hire cabin crew members across multiple stations throughout the country.

Additionally, among foreign carriers, the Qatar Airways Group also announced onboarding “a significant number” of new employees from India across roles such as culinary, corporate and commercial, management, cargo, customer service, engineering, flight operations, ground services, etc.

Air India is conducting walk-in interviews for cabin crew at Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Guwahati and Goa. The airline is also hiring senior trainee pilots for its Airbus A320 fleet, and experienced pilots for Boeing 777 planes, which Air India flies to the US.

Its sister airline AirAsia India conducted a recruitment drive for cabin crew in Gurugram for the Delhi-National Capital Region last week. AirAsia India also conducted such hiring drives for cabin crew recently in Delhi, Dehradun, Lucknow, Bengaluru and Pune.

This comes on the back of a surge in passenger volumes. A report last week by ratings agency ICRA pointed out that Indian carriers recorded a year-on-year growth of 57.7 per cent in domestic passenger traffic to 84.2 million for 2021-22 (April-March), on the back of “fast pace of vaccination, lower incidence of fresh Covid infections, coupled with the declining intensity of the infection”.

India’s largest airline IndiGo has lined up cabin crew hiring events for its ATR fleet in Bengaluru, Gurugram, Kolkata, Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Chandigarh. It is also conducting hiring events for cabin crew for its Airbus fleet in Delhi, Mumbai, Bagdogra, Guwahati, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kolkata, Dimapur, among several other stations, next week.

Vistara, which operates Airbus A320, A321 and Boeing 787 aircraft, recently conducted recruitment programmes for cabin crew in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

The Indian aviation sector has recently seen an uptick in hiring as a result of new airlines coming in. Akasa Air recently launched its operations and is flying from stations including Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru, while Jet Airways is also planning to resume operations.

In response to a question in Lok Sabha on March 31 this year, Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh had noted that the total job losses in airlines, airports, ground handling and air cargo sector between March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2021 was around 19,200, representing 10 per cent of the total workforce in these sectors. “The government has held discussions with industry participants and stakeholders to address the challenges facing the industry,” he had pointed out.

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He said the total number of airline employees in India had declined from around 74,800 as on March 31, 2020 to around 65,600 as on December 31, 2021.

The Qatar Airways Group, which is bracing for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Doha, will hold recruitment drives in Delhi on September 16 and 17, and in Mumbai on September 29 and 30. Speaking about the Indian recruitment drive, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer, Akbar Al Baker said: “We are committed to bolstering our team and further strengthening the customer experience for travellers, while we boost our operational capabilities by seeking the right people. Qatar Airways has always had a special bond with India and with this recruitment drive, we are further solidifying our commitment to the market.”

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