Go First offers Rs 1 Lakh retention allowance to stem pilot departures

Amid an insolvency plea, Go First is trying to address concerns raised by pilots regarding job security and career stability

Go First has also grounded 28 of its Airbus A320neo aircraft, over half its fleet in India, over similar engine issues (Photo Courtesy: Go First)
Go First has also grounded 28 of its Airbus A320neo aircraft, over half its fleet in India, over similar engine issues (Photo Courtesy: Go First)

Aditya Anand

Go First, the prominent airline currently undergoing insolvency proceedings, finds itself in a daunting predicament as it endeavours to hold on to its valued pilots, who are increasingly considering alternative opportunities. The airline has responded by making enticing offers, reportedly extending monthly remuneration of up to Rs 1 lakh to captains and Rs 50,000 to first officers to retain their expertise.

In a communication sent by Go First to its pilots, as seen by this journalist, the airline clarified that the retention allowance is intended to incentivise pilots to remain with the company during the ongoing insolvency proceedings. The retention allowance scheme aims to address the concerns raised by pilots regarding job security and career stability.

The airline's initiative comes amidst revelations that Go First's captains earn an average monthly salary of approximately Rs 5.30 lakh, in contrast to their counterparts at SpiceJet, who reportedly earn around Rs 7.50 lakh. In a recent communication to its pilots, Go First expressed optimism about the progress plan and its potential to facilitate a swift return to normal operations, which would ensure regular salary payments for its employees.

Following Go First's application for insolvency proceedings, rival airlines, including Air India, Vistara, and IndiGo, swiftly capitalised on the situation, advertising job vacancies across various roles and locations nationwide. This competitive environment poses an additional challenge for Go First as it strives to retain its talented workforce despite enticing opportunities elsewhere.

Last week, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) granted Go First a one-month extension to submit its restructuring or revival plan. The DGCA also requested comprehensive information from the low-cost carrier, including details regarding the availability of operational aircraft, required personnel, maintenance arrangements, funding, working capital, agreements with lessors and vendors, and more.

Go First had previously informed the DGCA that there is no definitive timeline for resuming flights, further highlighting the uncertainty surrounding the airline's future operations.

Meanwhile, Go First has announced the continuation of flight cancellations until May 30 due to operational reasons. The airline assured affected travellers that full refunds would be processed through their original mode of payment. Additionally, Go First expressed its intention to resume bookings shortly, indicating its commitment to restoring normal operations once the situation stabilises.

As Go First navigates the challenges of insolvency proceedings, introducing the longevity bonus serves as a gesture of appreciation for the commitment and loyalty demonstrated by its long-serving staff members.

However, the salary gap between Go First's captains and those at competing airlines could impact the airline's ability to retain its experienced pilots.

The next steps taken by Go First will be critical in determining the path forward for the airline. Successfully submitting a viable restructuring plan to the DGCA, retaining talented pilots, and addressing salary discrepancies are essential components for airlines revival and potential resurgence in the Indian aviation industry.

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