In a move that brings temporary reprieve to protesting pilots, national carrier Air India told a vacation bench of the Bombay high court on Wednesday that they have deferred their 1:1 schedule for training for the soon to be inducted Boeing 787 aircraft to November-end.
The 1:1 policy, issued by the airlines on October 20, requires assigning flight duty on the 787 aircraft to one pilot each from Air India, and the erstwhile Indian airlines.
The Indian Pilots' Guild (IPG), which represents pre-merger AI pilots, had challenged the policy and had approached the vacation bench seeking a stay on it, on grounds that such a policy goes against their agreement with AI.
IPG counsels Darius Shroff and Jamshed Mistry submitted that the policy is "arbitrary" and "contrary to agreements."
The petitioners had stated that in September and October 2011, in a series of meetings, they were told that Central government representatives desired that "flight crew requirements for the Boeing 787 be met from pilots of Air India and the erstwhile Indian Airlines on a 1:1 basis." The IPG representative had then informed the chairman and managing director of Air India that this would be in violation of the wage agreement, dated December 22, 2006, and would be totally unjust, as it would adversely affect the career progression of the pilots of erstwhile Air India."
The petition further states that during one of the meetings, the petitioners had set out conditions that would have to be fulfilled, if the airlines desired to send pilots to the erstwhile Indian Airlines, to train on the first B-787 aircraft, which had not been met.
The pilots said that to their shock, on October 20, they learnt that a schedule of proposed training slots had been given, in which approximately half the training slots had been reserved for the pilots of erstwhile Indian Airlines. The training of drstwhile Indian Airlines was scheduled to commence on Novermber 3, the petition stated.