The country’s largest airline by passengers carried, the low-cost carrier Indigo is not only the most profitable but also the leading creator of jobs in the sector. InterGlobe Enterprises, the company that runs the airline, posted a sixfold jump in its net profit to R787 crore in 2012-13 fiscal, added the maximum number of employees in the sector during the fiscal, at 1,949. This was nearly four times more than the next highest jobs addition in the sector, the 568 employees hired by low-cost rival SpiceJet.
During the same period, full-service airline Jet Airways cut about 767 jobs while the now-grounded Kingfisher Airlines’ workforce went down by 2,845 employees.
IndiGo’s new hiring in the previous fiscal was primarily driven by its fleet and network expansion. During the fiscal, it added 11 aircraft and its capacity increased by 38%. Despite the addition of jobs, the low-cost carrier still has one of the lowest aircraft-to-personnel ratio in the industry. IndiGo has around 104 employees per plane while Jet Airways has 127 employees per aircraft.
However, SpiceJet has the lowest number of employees per aircraft, at 95. A senior Air India official said that the national carrier has nearly 186 employees per aircraft.
With the addition of nearly 10 more aircraft this fiscal, IndiGo is likely to keep up the pace of hiring this financial year as well.
“We will continue to hire to fuel our planned expansion,” said IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh. “However, we don’t have a specific number in mind.”
Aviation consultants indicated that the airline is likely to hire another 700-800 people this year to keep having employees at nearly 100 per aircraft.
Human resources consultants say that IndiGo’s hiring pattern defies the overall slump in the industry and is positive news for those seeking jobs in the airline industry.
“Companies that had been on the cusp of expanding their workforce manifold in 2007-08 have either restricted their recruitment drive or in some instances stopped completely,” said Jyorden T Misra, founder and managing director Spearhead Intersearch. “Hiring has certainly slowed down. Most companies are treading with caution and aim to ride out the storm for now cautiously.”
IndiGo’s hirings did not affect its financial results, indicating that the airline is not paying exorbitant salaries. During the 2012-13 fiscal, while the airline managed to increase its net profit by nearly six times to R787 crore, SpiceJet registered a loss of R191 crore and Jet Airways had a loss of R485 crore.
Staff costs for IndiGo accounted for 8% of its total expenses of R8,465 crore during FY13. In comparison, staff costs for Jet Airways in FY13 was 9.1% of its total expenses of R16,876 crore while for SpiceJet it was 8.9% of its total expenses of R5,880 crore.