NAC proposes pilot pay hike
If the proposal is approved, a senior pilot could draw up to Rs450,000 in monthly salary and allowances. At present, senior pilots’ pay ranges from Rs250,000 to Rs300,000 per month
Jan 14, 2017-Nepal Airlines Corporation’s (NAC) board has approved its management plan to nearly double salaries and allowances of cockpit and cabin crews in a bid to retain them.
The proposal has been sent to the Tourism Ministry for approval. After the ministry’s approval, it will be forwarded to the Finance Ministry for its final consent.
According to Tourism Ministry officials, if the proposal is approved, a senior pilot could draw up to Rs450,000 in monthly salary and allowances. At present, senior pilots’ pay ranges from Rs250,000 to Rs300,000 per month.
“The management has also proposed a significant hike in salaries and allowances for junior pilots and cabin crews,” said the Tourism Ministry officials. “The move is aimed at making the pay at par with offers made by private airlines.”
Concerned over a possible wave of resignations, NAC has asked the government to review the pay structure to retain qualified flying crews.
Government officials said with new airlines entering the market and existing carriers expanding their fleets, chances of NAC pilots being “poached” are high. “If NAC does not take right move in right time, it could face a severe shortage of flying crews in the near future,” they said. For example, two months ago, the national flag carrier had published an advertisement to hire 23 captains to fly domestic aircraft, including four Chinese-made aircraft on order, but only a few candidates had submitted applications.
Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane, joint secretary at the Tourism Ministry, said they expect the proposed pay hike would motivate flying crews to some extent. “The pay structure, however, is still lower to what private airlines like Himalaya Airlines offer.”
NAC has also announced it will buy two wide-body jets, for which it will require 20 sets of pilots each. “And without a handsome pay offer, no one is going to come to fly NAC’s planes,” said Lamichhane, who is also on NAC’s board.
Airline officials say the industry is in a deficit of more than 100 captains at present—60 percent of the demand for jet aircraft pilots. Pilot shortage has started to cause a major headache for airlines. Some are even attempting to lure foreign pilots by offering large salaries.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, there are currently 232 pilots holding airline transport pilot licences (ATPL) for fixed-wing aircraft and 21 pilots for helicopters. An ATPL allows the holder to act as the pilot in command or captain. Likewise, the number of commercial pilot licence (CPL) holders is 281 for fixed-wings and 50 for helicopters. CPL is a qualification that permits the holder to act as the pilot in command of a single pilot aircraft, or as co-pilot of a multi-pilot aircraft.
Published: 14-01-2017 09:19