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Tuesday 8 November 2011

AI pilots threaten mass exit

AI pilots threaten mass exit
Angry mood
New Delhi, Oct. 31: Around 80 of Air India’s pilots have threatened to resign together if they are not given a no objection certificate (NoC) to apply for jobs elsewhere.
According to sources, the pilots have sent a letter to the management asking for a swift decision on their demand or they may be forced to take drastic steps.
All the pilots belong to the India Pilots Guild (IPG), an association of AI pilots, who last week had threatened to go on strike and had earlier protested the management’s decision to train erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots to fly Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Last week, 23 pilots with AI Express, the low-cost arm of the national carrier, had reported sick, leading to cancellation of 10 international flights.
“A letter signed by as many as 70 pilots has also been sent to the civil aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi asking him to take immediate action in the matter. We have been asking this for a long time and till now nothing has been done and, meanwhile, we are losing valuable opportunities,” said an IPG member.
Air India, however, has said it is yet to receive any such letter from the pilots. “We have not received any such letter from the IPG or any other body,” said an AI official.
According to Air India sources, the reason behind the sudden rise in sick leaves is a turf war between pilots from erstwhile Indian Airlines and Air India over assignments to fly the premium Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Of the 64 pilots selected for 787 training, 32 belong to Indian Airlines. According to the Air India pilots, this can seriously hurt their career progression. Air India used to be the international arm and Indian Airlines the domestic operator.
The IPG represents about 300 pilots of the pre-merger Air India, while about 1,400 pilots of former Indian Airlines owe allegiance to the Indian Commercial Pilots Association, which is also protesting the same issues.
Flying schools
The Directorate General of Civil Association (DGCA) has said a “blatant disregard” of norms has been detected in the functioning of most flying schools in the country. The DGCA has warned them of strong action, including the cancellation of permits, if they failed to comply with the guidelines within 30 days.

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