The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA), the union representing the cockpit crew of the domestic and short-haul international flights of Air India (AI), has approached civil aviation minister Ajit Singh over the delay in clearance of their pending salaries.
The airline has allegedly not paid the pilots since May. “When the bills pile up and the credit card balance grows, things can feel downright unbearable. Financial stress could negatively impact things outside of one’s wallet, one’s health, one’s performance in the job and relationships at home,” read the letter addressed to the minister.
The pilots’ body claimed that financial worries could affect the efficiency of the employees. “A stressed pilot is a potential disaster in waiting,” said an ICPA member requesting anonymity.
The union members said that they decided to approach Singh after watching a TV interview wherein he claimed that disgruntled employees could affect the safety of the plane, even if it was on ground.
Last year, an AI engineer in Mumbai had killed himself allegedly owing to his failure to fund his daughter’s education, when the loss-making carrier was inconsistent in paying salaries.
“It is high time the government intervenes. We cannot afford to lose more lives,” said an ICPA member.
Earlier this year, the government had sanctioned a cash infusion of Rs30,000 crore (to be paid in eight years) in the debt-ridden airline to settle pending dues such as salaries.
An AI spokesperson was not available for a comment.