Less than a month after 65 aspiring pilots protested against Air India for rejecting them because they failed a psychometric test, a body formed by unemployed pilots has sought the civil aviation ministry’s intervention in the matter.
Last week, the Unemployed Pilot Welfare Association (UPWA), a 7,000-strong body, approached the ministry, claiming the move was unfair as the rejected candidates were awarded flying licenses by the aviation safety regulator.
“The candidates had spent lakhs on acquiring a commercial pilots’ license and the specialisation of flying an Airbus 320. Institutes approved by the aviation safety regulator had awarded both these qualifications. How can the airline turn them away based on a newly introduced test?” said Captain Ashok Arya from UPWA.
He added that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) should make the test mandatory at a level before pilots make such a huge career investment.
The Air India spokesperson had justified the rejections as ‘markings done by qualified psychologist from the Indian Air Force’. When asked about the points raised by UPWA on Monday, the airline spokesperson said HT’s queries had been sent to the department concerned. However, no response was sent till the time of going to press.
The test was added to the selection process after the Germanwings crash in March, where the flight’s mentally unstable co-pilot crashed the plane into the French Alps, killing the 150 people on board.
While the national carrier claimed its psychometric test was in line with the guidelines of the US aviation regulator, rejected candidates said it was a ‘five minute verbal interview’. “How can a person judge my mental state over a short chat?” said Lav Pandey, one of the candidates.