State-owned Air India (AI) wants union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy on board as a pilot and has made an informal proposal to the senior Bharatiya Janta Party MP.
Rudy, a trained commercial pilot and a former aviation minister, confirmed the development to Hindustan Times.
Sources said AI wants Rudy to serve in an “honorary” capacity and bear all training and other related expenses as are applicable to other pilots. “Also, he won’t get any remuneration and emoluments like free passage, accommodation, transport and layover allowance that is provided to other crew members,” said a source.
“There is an informal proposal from AI. I am still considering it. It will not be at the cost of my work in the government,” Rudy told HT. “It can only be with the limited purpose of my license being current,” he said.
Rudy, a type-rated Airbus A320 pilot, has around 2000 hours of flying experience and was a captain with IndiGo before being inducted in the union cabinet in November last year. AI uses the narrow body A320 for domestic and short haul international operations.
Rudy, in fact, operated his last flight with the budget carrier on November 8, a day prior to his induction in the cabinet. A keen aviator, Rudy had to stop flying, as his working with a private airline would have resulted in a conflict of interest.
Getting a professional pilot license is a very long drawn and expensive process. A commercial pilot needs to ensure that his license remains “current” for which it is essential to fly a minimum number of hours in a year and a failure to do so would result in the license getting lapsed.
“If Rudy does indeed fly for AI, it will definitely enhance the branding of the airline,” said an official.