The deadlock between a section of Air India (AI) pilots and the airline management over training on the premium Boeing 787 Dreamliner showed no sign of thawing.
Sources said another 25 pilots joined the group of 101, who had threatened to quit and sought a No Objection Certificate (NoC) from the airline management on October 29.
These pilots belong to the erstwhile AI, as it existed before the merger with Indian Airlines (IA), who fly international routes such as New York, London and Toronto. The trigger behind the mass resignation threat is the management’s decision to allot half of the 64 training slots on B787 to erstwhile IA pilots.
Aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi and AI CMD Rohit Nandan are said to be closely monitoring the situation and sources said the management had assured they would take a “fair and balanced” decision.
Sources said the Dreamliner training programme, which was to begin this week, is likely to be postponed to December.
AI Express – the low cost arm of the national carrier – has been affected the most by the crisis as at least 25 pilots are on sick leave, which has led to 19 cancellations so far.
“AI Express has 46 captains and 80 first officers on deputation from AI. It runs 187 flights a week and if the situation is not resolved soon, it might have a cascading effect from next week as flight duty time limitations set in,” an official said.
“We will meet the management again tomorrow as today’s meeting did not yield any result. A writ petition filed by the Indian Pilots Guild seeking a stay on actions of the management would be heard by the Bombay High Court on Wednesday,” a pilot said.