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Air India pilot wants politicians to serve 1-year notice as DGCA seeks to double notice period

The senior pilot argues that while the DGCA proposal is in public interest to ensure that pilots resigning do not cause flight delays and cancellations, politicians should also come under such a rule to avoid political instability and to avoid expenses of fresh elections.

business Updated: May 18, 2017 00:15 IST
Suchetana Ray
Suchetana Ray
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Air India,pilot,DGCA
(HT photo)

A proposal by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to impose a one-year notice period on Indian pilots who want to jump jobs has touched a raw nerve, with a senior Air India staffer asking why such a rule does not apply to politicians.

At present, pilots have to serve a notice period of six months.

In a sarcastic Facebook post, pilot S Sabu said: “We should also urge the government of India to apply the same (rule) to our elected representatives, the MPs and MLAs. Very often, we witness governments being toppled by unscrupulous politicians who jump from one party to another...”

Going by the aviation regulator’s claim that such a proposal will prevent pilots from resigning on the spur of a moment, thereby cutting down on fight delays and cancellations, politicians should also come under such a law to avoid political instability and undesirable polling expenditure, the pilot argued.

Sabu recommended a parliamentary act, “whereby politicians belonging to political parties registered with the Election Commission give a notice of at least one year before they switch allegiances”.

The DGCA’s draft proposal mooted a notice period of one year for pilots, and six months for co-pilots, after resigning from their jobs. To drive home its point, the aviation body cited instances of flights getting delayed or cancelled due to pilots resigning without adequate notice.

“In some cases, pilots resign en masse without notice, As a result, airlines are forced to cancel their flights at the last minute,” the draft proposal by the DGCA said.

The regulator argued that the increased notice period also addresses airline companies’ concerns about needing at least four months to replace a well-trained pilot who has passed all the technical and performance examinations required.

The only exemption from the notice period would be for pilots who obtain a no-objection certificate from their airline, allowing them to quit before the notice period is completed.

The airline regulator’s proposals came at a time when Air India’s regional arm – Allegiance Air – has complained against poaching of pilots by IndiGo.

Air India could not be contacted for its response.

First Published: May 17, 2017 15:36 IST