New Pilots

GoAir to expand fleet to 26 Airbus narrowbodies

2016 08 22


GoAir plans to hire 500 personnel, including pilots, in the coming months as the budget carrier prepares to expand its aircraft fleet and fly overseas next year.

Gearing up to implement its ambitious expansion plans, the Wadia group carrier is looking to have 26 aircraft by end of March next year from the current fleet strength of 21, a senior official said.

The airline's CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said plans are on for listing and it would happen at the "right time".

"We will expand our fleet by up to 26 aircraft by the end of March next year. We need to build up for the expansion that we are going for. Every aircraft (inducted) needs 100 increase (in manpower) approximately. So we will naturally hire".

This would translate to hiring requirement of at least 500 personnel, including a significant number of pilots.

At present, GoAir's head count is around 2,300, Prock-Schauer said.

GoAir has 21 Airbus A320 aircraft, including A320neos -- which are more fuel-efficient. Generally, an Airbus 320 plane needs maximum 14 pilots for its operation, with seven commanders and an equal number of first officers.

A back of the envelope calculation indicates that addition of five such aircraft would mean the need for about 70 pilots.

In June 2011, the Mumbai-based airline had placed an order with European aviation major Airbus for 72 new A320 neo aircraft valued at about Rs 32,400 crore on list price.

Besides, the carrier inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for another 72 A320neo aircraft at Farnborough International Airshow in June.

Earlier this month, GoAir got government's approval to fly to nine countries including Iran, Uzbekistan and Kazakhastan. It expects to start international operations from the next summer schedule -- which generally spans from the last Sunday of March and extends to the last Saturday of October.

GoAir would be the first Indian private carrier to fly to any CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States). CIS countries for which the carrier has got flying nod include Uzbekistan, Kazakhastan and Azerbaijan.

On the much-awaited IPO, which has been in the works for sometime, Prock-Schauer said it would hit the market at the appropriate time.

"We are preparing ourself (for the IPO). Its a question of timing, it is about the right timing. We are not in a hurry. We will wait for the right timing. We want to be well prepared. There are many things which we need to look at (before going to stock exchange)," he said.

About the recent MoU with Airbus, Prock-Schauer said the order is expected to be in place in the next 2-3 months.

"Economic things are stipulated in the MoU and only legal issues are to be worked out" he added.


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