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HindustanTimes Wed,27 Aug 2014

Second pilots’ union also alleges partiality to expats

Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, February 20, 2011
First Published: 01:13 IST(20/2/2011) | Last Updated: 01:14 IST(20/2/2011)

Less than the week after a section of Air India pilots threatened to ground operations accusing the airline of siding with expats, the national carrier’s second pilots’ union has also accused the company of the same.

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On Saturday, the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA), which largely represents pilots operating domestic flights, said the management has been intentionally under utilising their services to continue with expat pilots.

According to a letter sent to the airline chairman and managing director, Arvind Jadhav, the union claimed the company’s agreement permits a pilot to perform flying duties up to 90 hours a month.

However, in the past few months, pilots have not recorded more than 60 hours a month.

It is through the Right to Information (RTI) Act that the ICPA learnt how the airline has been gradually cutting down on flying duties assigned to its members since July 2010.

The RTI reply shows that the flight duties assigned to pilots in the city came down from 8,121 to 7,822 in a span of two months starting from July.

The Air India spokesperson did not reply to HT’s query.

“Under these circumstances we wonder why expatriate pilots are still being employed by Air India at huge costs to the company,’ said captain Rishabh Kapur, general secretary, ICPA.

Earlier this week, the India Pilots’ Guild, the airline’s other pilots’ union warned civil aviation minister, Vayalar Ravi, of a strike alleging the airline had stopped training Indian pilots for the new aircraft fleet.

The union claimed the reason behind stopping the training was to portray a fake shortage of senior commanders so that the company continues to extend the contracts of expat pilots.


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