Air India on Friday launched a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for its non-flying staff with relaxed criteria for employees aged 40 and above, making it the second such offer by the Tata Sons-controlled airline since June last year.
Permanent general category officers, clerical and unskilled officer staff, who have completed at least five years of continuous service, are eligible to apply, an internal memo shared by the airline said. The previous criteria was 20 years of service.
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Campbell Wilson, MD and CEO, Air India, said, “Following last year’s provision of voluntary retirement for permanent cabin crew, clerical and unskilled staff aged over 40 years, many of you have asked whether there will be another round, and whether it would be extended to other staff categories. Today we are launching a second phase of voluntary retirement.”
The employees who apply for VRS from March 17 to April 30 will also be provided with an ex-gratia amount as a one-time benefit. Eligible employees who apply up to March 31 will receiveRs 1 lakh, over and above the ex-gratia amount, the airline clarified.
“The acceptance of the application and the date of release shall be subject to management’s discretion,” the memo added.
As per the initial offer, employees older than 55 and with a continuous employment of 20 years were eligible to opt for the VRS. These rules were subsequently relaxed following which those older than 40 became eligible for the scheme.
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After completing the takeover over Air India in January last year, the former flag carrier announced the first phase of VR in June 2022. As per disclosures made by Campbell at the end February, around 1,500 people took the VRS which was about 43% of those who were eligible to do so. The airline had a total employee strength of 10800 (including those on contract) before the VRS was thrown open.
A few weeks ago, Air India announced that it will hire over 4200 cabin crew and 900 pilots. The airline is inducting 500 cabin crew each month and will continue with the hiring trend to meet manpower requirements for serving the $80 billion, 470 aircraft induction programme spread over multiple years.