The rift has deepened between pilot associations of the merged Indian Airlines (IA) and Air India (AI) over the right to fly the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
While the management decided to adopt a 1:1 policy, the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) representing AI pilots challenged the move in the Bombay high court contending that its commanders have an exclusive right to fly the high-end aircraft as they serve almost twice longer as co-pilots. The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), which represents IA pilots, said that optimum use of its pilots is in the interest of the national carrier, as well as the pilots.
An affidavit filed in the court by Rishabh Kapur, general secretary, ICPA, states: "Less than optimum utilisation of Indian Airlines pilots is an issue which not only adversely affects the pilots but it also affects the economy of the merged company which is going through troubled times."
The guild, in a rejoinder affidavit filed by Erjahn Kapadia, general secretary of the IPG, however, points out: "If any of the pilots of the erstwhile Indian Airlines take up a pilot's seat on the Boeing 787 or the Boeing 777 prior to the harmonisation of seniority, the same will be occupied by the pilot on a permanent basis until retirement, thereby preventing a more eligible pilot from the erstwhile Air India from obtaining the requisite career progression."
Air India had earlier informed the court that it has deferred the 1:1 schedule till the end of November. The matter will be heard next week.