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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Now, AI pilots can choose partner in sky

Tushar Srivastava, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 11, 2012
First Published: 21:52 IST(11/10/2012) | Last Updated: 21:55 IST(11/10/2012)

Ailing national carrier Air India (AI) always flies that extra mile when it comes to pampering its pilots.

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In probably a first instance for any airline, AI pilots will now get to decide whether or not they wish to fly in the company of a particular pilot.

The newly-formed CMS (crew management system) cell has extended the facility to pilots to decide for themselves whether or not they wish to fly with a particular crew member.

Aviation experts expressed surprise at AI's decision as worldwide crew rostering is done in a scientific manner.  Several variables such as total cockpit experience, special qualifications like instrument landing in zero visibility conditions, operations to critical airfields that require special qualifications etc, are taken into consideration.

"Catering to everyone's likes and dislikes can play havoc with the system and shows the high level of indiscipline in the airline," said aviation expert Captain Mohan Ranganathan.

AI, however, did not offer comments for the story.

While it is an accepted industry practice that pilots having serious personality clashes between them should not be crewed together, in all other airlines it is the head of the operations department who take decisions based on any specific complaint and on recommendations from the flight safety department.

"By offering pilots an option to indicate if they do not wish to be scheduled with another pilot, the management is only going to encourage indiscipline in a way," said a captain. "Now, co-pilots will now avoid flying with captains or instructor pilots who may be strict in the cockpit."

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