Air India chairman-cum-managing director Arvind Jadhav, 53, has cancelled the recruitment of 40 trainee pilots and ordered the HR department of the airline to start the recruitment process afresh.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Air India board had received several complaints of manipulation and irregularities in the selection of these pilots in April. Some of the selected candidates are said to be close relatives of senior airline officials.
“The decision was taken by the CMD early this week after the process was found to have been vitiated,” said a senior Air India official on condition of anonymity.
Of the 1,400 commercial pilot license (CPL) holders who appeared for the exam on April 12, Air India had finally selected 40 pilots. Soon after this, the list of selected trainee pilots had been forwarded to the then Air India CMD Raghu Menon for approval in the third week of April. Since then, the file had been lying on the CMD’s table.
When Jadhav took over as the new CMD over on May 4, he found that the perks and privileges offered to these pilots were higher than those permitted by the rules. Citing these conditions and several other irregularities, he the ordered cancellation of the entire process, the AI official said.
At present, there are over 1,000 foreign pilots working for different airlines in India. Air India, which has about 700 pilots on its rolls, employs about 100 foreign pilots.
The exercise to recruit Indian trainee pilots had started soon after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued directions to replace foreign pilots with Indians by July 31, 2010.