Jet Airways plans to add about 400 more pilots to its rolls over the next two years, Amit Agarwal, Deputy CEO and CFO at the airline, told BusinessLine . The bulk of the hires will be inducted to fly the 75 new Boeing 737 Max aircraft that the airline is adding to its fleet, with deliveries scheduled to start in June.

Jet Airways currently has roughly 2,000 pilots on its rolls, Agarwal said. The airline’s network expansion and integration plan over the next two years will need a 20 per cent addition to its cockpit crew strength. “Our focus is on getting more Indian pilots. Sometimes this need may not be fully met locally for short-term requirements, so we have to look outside. But our focus is on hiring Indian pilots. With 2,000 pilots on the rolls now, Jet Airways has the maybe the largest bench strength in India.”

Agarwal said the airline hired about 350 pilots over the last two years, denying recent media reports that the airline is facing an exodus by several members of its cockpit crew. “It’s at very manageable number for us, we’re not seeing a problem with pilot retention,” added Capt Edward Davidson, Senior Vice-President, Operations, Jet Airways.

The Jet Airways Group currently operates a fleet of 119 aircraft, comprising Boeing 777-300 ERs, Airbus A330-200/300, Next Generation Boeing 737s and ATR 72-500/600s

In the December quarter, the airline reported pre-tax and exceptional profit of ₹165 crore, which was lower than expected because of poor yields in its international business.