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Vistara Issues Ultimatum to Pilots Over New Pay Structure Amid Merger with Air India

Vistara, in the midst of its merger with Air India, has given an ultimatum to its pilots regarding a new pay structure, sparking concerns among pilots, particularly First Officers, who anticipate significant pay cuts. The ultimatum, issued just hours before the deadline to accept the new pay terms, warns of potential exclusion from the integrated airline for those who fail to comply.

The new pay structure, under scrutiny by pilots, offers a minimum guaranteed flying time of 40 hours for all pilots, down from the current 70 hours. Consequently, First Officers are expected to endure a pay cut of nearly 57%. They argue that under the new terms, they would need to fly up to 76 hours to earn what they previously earned at 70 hours, while Captains and Senior Captains face less drastic reductions, needing to fly 52-55 hours and 55-60 hours, respectively, to maintain their previous salary levels.

Legal experts weigh in, suggesting that changes to employment conditions post-hiring may not be legally enforceable, potentially rendering any bonds or agreements signed by pilots, particularly in relation to training loans owed to the airline, invalid.

Moreover, concerns loom over the transition of some pilots to widebody aircraft from the current narrowbody Airbus A320, potentially delaying their career progression to Captain roles and impacting their earnings.

With plans to halve flight operations by June and cease independent operations by October as part of the integration process with Air India, Vistara aims to conclude the merger by mid-2025. Conditional approval from regulatory bodies in Singapore and India has been secured, with further approvals pending.

The ultimatum has intensified tensions between Vistara and its pilots, highlighting the complexities and challenges associated with mergers and restructuring within the aviation industry.

 

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