Many Air India pilots haven't flown for even an hour a month while drawing fixed monthly salaries - ranging between Rs. 2,10,000 and Rs. 8,72,000 a month, says an assessment done by the aviation ministry.
What's more, minister Ajit Singh revealed in Parliament recently that an AI pilot had been caught flying for another airline while a senior pilot had pocketed a cool Rs. 2.2 crore despite having been grounded on medical grounds.
Two weeks ago, the ministry sought month-wise flying details of every one of the 1,543-strong army of AI pilots for March, April and May since the airline's rostering system came under scrutiny.
Pilots flying both international and domestic routes get assured salaries plus allowances for fixed hours of flying in a month, irrespective of how many hours they fly.
While those belonging to former AI get paid for 80 hours a month, it's a 72-hour-a-month norm for former Indian Airlines pilots.
The two airlines were merged into the present avatar in 2007.
The ministry assessment revealed that there were many who hadn't flown even a single hour in a month. And very few had actually flown the number of hours.
"We will take appropriate actions and expand the scope of the inquiry," an aviation ministry official said.
Sanat Kaul, former aviation secretary, said, "The losses that the pilots have been causing to AI are tremendous."