Crisis-hit Go First which has liabilities worth Rs 11,463 crore, has sought voluntary insolvency resolution proceedings and the plea is set to be heard by the Delhi bench of the NCLT on Thursday(REUTERS)
Over a dozen pilots and cabin crew participated in the hiring drive by Air India, announced on Wednesday, and another run by its sister airline company Vistara
As crisis-hit Go First suspended the sale of tickets till May 15 after it sought voluntary insolvency resolution proceedings, dozens of its pilots were spotted at a walk-in interview for Air India held in a Tata group hotel near Delhi, reports said on Thursday.
“It is very disheartening, the airline was functioning as if everything was normal,” a pilot who joined Go First two years ago and waited in a long line at Tata’s Taj Hotel told Reuters. “We have to jump ship in order to keep our flying licences current,” the pilot added.
Go First’s announcement on Tuesday that it had filed for bankruptcy as demand for post-pandemic air travel in the world’s most populous country boomed came as a shock to many employees.
According to the news agency, over a dozen pilots and cabin crew participated in the hiring drive by Air India, announced on Wednesday, and another run by its sister airline company Vistara. The people interviewed said the turnout was higher than usual and attributed it to the situation at Go First, which has around 7,000 employees, the report said.
Unusual Response in Recruitment Drive
While IndiGo, Vistara, and Air India have previously conducted similar recruitment drives, the scale of the response was unusual. The Tata group, which recently repurchased Air India from the government, plans to hire more than 4,200 cabin crew and 900 pilots this year as part of a large-scale restructuring effort that includes orders for a record 470 planes.
Air India tweeted that the recruitment drive in Delhi and Mumbai would be extended until Friday.
Vistara, a Tata group joint venture with Singapore Airlines, held walk-in interviews for cabin crew in Delhi and Mumbai on Thursday, and sought online applications from pilots.
“Vistara has been a dream airline to work with, ever since I took one of its flights a few years ago,” said a 27-year-old member of Go First’s cabin crew. “Plus, with the Tatas, our future would be secure.”
Go First, which has been flying for more than 17 years, has suspended the sale of tickets till May 15 and has told aviation regulator DGCA it is working to refund or reschedule existing bookings for future dates.
“We regret to inform that due to operational reasons, Go First flights scheduled till 9th May 2023 have been cancelled… A full refund will be issued to the original mode of payment shortly,” the airline said in an update on its website.
According to the latest data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), in a sign of turbulent times, 20 aircraft operated by Go First have been sought for deregistration by lessors. More than half of the airline’s fleet, comprising of 28 planes, remain grounded due to a lack of engine supply by Pratt & Whitney (P&W). The Wadia group-owned airline is facing financial difficulties with liabilities worth Rs 11,463 crore and has filed for voluntary insolvency resolution proceedings as well as an interim moratorium on financial obligations.
The airline’s net loss rose to Rs 3,600 crore last fiscal from Rs 1,807.8 crore in 2021-22. The net loss was Rs 1,346.72 crore in 2020-21.
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