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Air India prefers to hire foreigners,  Indian pilots’ union complains

Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, February 17, 2011
First Published: 02:30 IST(17/2/2011) | Last Updated: 02:31 IST(17/2/2011)

One of the two pilots’ unions in Air India has accused the airline of intentionally ignoring training of Indian pilots to continue the services of expatriate pilots. The Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG) reported the matter to civil aviation minister, Vayalar Ravi and union labour minister, Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday.


The union alleged the airline has been portraying a fake shortage of senior commanders to continue the services of expatriate pilots.

“We strongly suspect some officials have a vested financial interest in the continued employment of foreign pilots through recruitment agencies based on foreign shores,” said Jeetendra Awhad, president, IPG. “The training of many Indian pilots has stopped,” he added.

The union also raised safety concerns owing to the crossover of some Indian Airline pilots to Air India post the merger.

“Unresolved seniority issues can cause conflicts in the cockpit and result in a complete breakdown in the command and control of an aircraft,”  Awhad said.

Issues such as harassment of sick pilots, regular delay in payment of salaries and issuing flight operation circulars without approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have also been mentioned in the letters sent to the ministers.

The union has also threatened a strike if the minister fails to intervene into their grievances immediately. 

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