Vistara CEO in Leadership Test Over Pilot Unrest

With pilots protesting a new pay structure, Vistara’s CEO faces a crucial challenge: can they navigate this leadership test and get flights back on track?

Vistara, a major Indian airline, has been experiencing flight cancellations and delays over the past two days. This disruption is the result of an ongoing dispute between the airline and its pilots.

More than 100 Vistara flights have been cancelled and many more delayed, causing frustration and inconvenience for passengers. The airline has attributed these disruptions to “crew unavailability,” which is a veiled reference to pilot protests. Sources report that Vistara pilots are calling in sick to express their disapproval of a revised salary structure introduced ahead of the airline’s merger with Air India.

Key Points of Contention

  • Pilots are unhappy with the new pay structure, claiming their overall compensation (CTC) has decreased.
  • The new contract mandates 40 hours of flying time, significantly less than the previous 70 hours. While the airline argues that increased incentives for exceeding flying hours can lead to higher earnings, pilots still need to be convinced.

Airline’s Response

Vistara has acknowledged the inconvenience caused and is taking steps to mitigate the situation. These include:

  • This afternoon, a meeting between CEO Vinod Kannan, top management, HR representatives, and pilots is scheduled.
  • Temporary reduction in the number of flights to ensure better connectivity across the network.
  • Deployment of larger aircraft on select routes to accommodate more passengers on combined flights.
  • Offering alternate flights or refunds to affected passengers.

Government Intervention

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is monitoring the situation and has requested daily reports from Vistara. Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia also sought details of the airline’s plan to address passenger inconvenience.

Looking Ahead

The outcome of the meeting between Vistara management and pilots will be crucial in determining how quickly normal operations can resume. The Centre’s intervention also focuses on resolving the issue to minimize passenger disruption.