Vistara to discuss rostering system with pilots: CEO

New Delhi: After facing significant flight disruptions due to the non-availability of crew, Vistara chief Vinod Kannan said the airline will look to review the current rostering system after discussions with pilots and emphasised that there has been no unusual spike in attrition.The Tata Group airline, which is in the process of getting merged with Air India, has temporarily reduced flight operations to ensure the availability of adequate pilot buffer and expects the situation to normalise by May.

A stretched roster on account of the high utilisation of pilots is the key reason for the recent disruptions, according to the airline while there are also concerns among a section of pilots about the new contract that will also result in pay revision.
In an interview with PTI on Friday, Kannan said that during a town hall with pilots, some concerns were raised around rostering, and pilots were told that the airline would look at how the rostering process can be reviewed.
Out of the airline's total workforce of around 6,500 people, 1,000 are pilots.
Within the pilot cohort, there are people with different profiles and pilots can bid for different lifestyles on the airline's advanced rostering system. Among others, there are some who like to fly more and some who don't want to have layovers, Kannan said.

"We are going to go back to the pilots to seek their views and inputs to see how it (rostering system) is working, and what their thoughts are... whether they should be amended, whether they should be improved.

"So that dialogue will take place. Obviously, we cannot have different rostering systems for different groups of pilots. We will have to adopt the one that the majority are okay with. So, we are working on that," the Vistara chief said.
For the roster for May, he said the airline will try and incorporate some of the feedback from the pilots to the extent possible.

To a query on some first officers quitting and joining other carriers, he said the airline has not seen any unusual spike in attrition.

Recently, around 15 first officers left the carrier.

"We always have a certain level of attrition, which happens..., including for pilots. We have not seen any unusual spike compared to that...we are continuing to hire," Kannan said.

In a statement on Saturday, Kannan said more than 98 per cent of the pilots have signed the new contract.

"We are aware that some pilots have some concerns and queries regarding the contract. We are engaging with them to clarify and resolve the same. However, this has not caused any visible spike in attrition amongst pilots," he said in the statement.

When asked whether pilots are facing uncertainties due to the proposed merger with Air India, Kannan on Friday stressed that the merger is about scale and growth.

"If you look at the opportunities that are available in the merged entity, there are, 400 to 500 aircraft coming in... from a pilot's perspective, I don't think this kind of opportunity is quite easy to find in order to move forward, whether it's for command progress or to move to wide bodies.
"In fact, the process has already started, we have had some of our pilots already move to Air India, for example, for moving into (for operating) A350s," he said.

The merger is expected to be completed by mid-2025.

Vistara is jointly owned by Tatas and Singapore Airlines.

( Source : PTI )
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